*Announces sale of bag of 50Kg NPK Fertilizer at N15,000:00 as against N17,800:00
*Prays for a bumper harvest this year
By JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
Governor Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed of Bauchi State on Tuesday, launched the sales of fertilizer for the 2023/2024 farming season with two billion Naira committed for the purchase of raw-materials to produce fertilizer for the farming season.
This was disclosed in a statement signed by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to Bauchi Governor, Muktar Gidado, made available on Wednesday May 10, 2023.
It explained that at the launching of the sales of fertilizer for the farming season held at BSADP office in Azare, headquarters of Katagum local government area of the state, the governor said, already his administration has settled all the outstanding debt to the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority.
Governor Bala Mohammed said the state government has also committed some funds to the maintenance of the Bauchi Fertilizer Blending Company to ensure seamless production of the commodity.
According to him, the consistency in conducting annual sales of fertilizer and farming season is a clear manifestation of the desire of his government to invigorate the agricultural sector for the social and economic development of the state.
He said in an efforts to diversify the economy of the state and ensure food security, agricultural sector would continue to be given the priority it deserves as agriculture is the main source of livelihood of the majority of the people of the state, especially those in the rural areas.
“It is to the glory of Allah (SWT) that we are gathered here today to launch the rainy season farming and flag-off the sales of fertilizer for the 2023/2024 farming season. The fact that we have never missed the launching of the farming season and annual livestock vaccination for a single year since we came on board as a government four years ago, is a testimony of our commitment to massive crop and animal production.
“It is however a matter of concern that the majority of our farmers have not embraced modern agricultural practices. There is therefore the need to deploy agricultural extension workers to required knowledge and skills to Indeed, the role of extension workers in any agricultural activity cannot be over emphasized.
“At this juncture, I want to draw the attention of our farmers to this year’s Seasonal Rainfall Prediction (SRP) by the Nigerian Meteorological Agency which indicates that in most parts of the State, planting season is going to start towards the end of this month (May), and there may be flooding in some parts. I therefore want to urge farmers to make good use of this information to avoid planting in an area that is highly susceptible to flooding.
“It would also be recalled that at the beginning of last year’s planting season, we experienced outbreak of Army-worms in some parts of the State. Although concerted efforts were made to control the worms, little success was recorded due to the rapid spread of the menace. This resulted in the destruction of crops on many farms. In order to avoid a recurrence of the incident this year, the Ministry of Agriculture has been directed to immediately submit their requirements for the control of the Army-worm menace for approval.”
The governor also said in an effort to address the inadequacy of extension workers in the state, the Ministry of Agriculture has been directed to forward proposal for employment of extension workers and other agric-related personnel to the office of the Head of Civil Service for onward submission to the Civil Service Commission.
He noted that, in the continued effort to provide farm inputs to teeming farmers this year, the State Government has through the Bauchi Fertilizer Company (BAFCO) blended 200 trucks of NPK 20:10:10 fertilizer and production of the commodity and directed the Ministry of Agriculture to ensure that the fertilizer is taken to each District and Ward in the state.
Governor Bala Mohammed who announced the sale of a bag of 50Kg NPK 20:10:10 (Dan Bauchi) Fertilizer at N15,000:00 as against the cost of production of N17,800:00, said government will provide fertilizer on loan to interested civil servants in the tate to be paid on instalments through deduction from source.
“As a government, we are worried about the low level of farm mechanization in the State. Consequently, we have arranged for the supply of 70 units of tractors and implements. The decision to prioritize farm mechanization in the State is aimed at minimizing human labour in crop production. We will henceforth be committing more resources for the development of this sector.
“It may please you to know that I have given an anticipatory approval for the allocation of at least 10% of the total budgetary allocation of the State for the development of agriculture. The Honourable Commissioner of Agriculture is therefore directed to forward the approval Assembly for ratification.
“We are very much aware that our price for a bag of fertilizer is below the price tag by most of our neighbouring States. There is therefore every tendency that middlemen would take advantage of the subsidy to sell the commodity at higher cost. Ministry of Agriculture is therefore directed to collaborate with law enforcement agencies to apprehend and deal with such middlemen according to the law.”