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Fertiliser producers call for passage of fertiliser bills, payment of N52b GES money

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Fertiliser Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria has appealed to the National Assembly to expedite passage of the Fertiliser Quality Control and National Agriculture Growth Enhancement Support Scheme bills.

The President of the Association, Thomas Etuh, made the appeal at a stakeholder’s workshop to review the draft bills in Abuja on Monday.

The president said the prompt passage of the bills and offset of the money was necessary to address challenges in the fertiliser sub sector.

Etuh said the bill when passed, would also eliminate adulterated fertilisers from the agricultural value chains in the country.

He said the bills had been passed by the House of Representatives, but was still awaiting ratification by the Senate.

According to him, fertiliser remains a critical input that cannot be ignored if agriculture in Nigeria must attain its critically acclaimed potential as a credible alternative for generating gainful employment in the current recession.

The president listed some problems associated with the scarcity and high cost of fertilisers to include poor physical infrastructure and lack of fertiliser monitoring systems.

Etuh said: “We have been operating in the country without regulations in the fertiliser industry.

“We have been working on the bill since 2013 to have this regulation and control bills that will aid certification and quality control.

“We have a lot of adulterated fertilisers in the country and this business has become an all comers affair because of lack of regulations and this has exposed farmers to dangers.”

Badms Jatto, the Director, Farm Input Support Services Department of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the bills would regulate the manufacturing, importation, distribution and quality control of fertilisers when passed.

Jatto said that the GES was still `work in progress’, adding that the goal was to encourage availability and accessibility of quality input seed, fertiliser and agrochemicals to farmers all year round.

Gideon Negedu, the Project Manager of the Micro Reforms for Africa Agribusiness in Nigeria said that delay in the passage of the bills had short-changed farmers and hindered rapid development in the agricultural sector.

Negedu appealed to the Federal Government to offset the outstanding N52 billion GES money owed producers and distributors to encourage improved agricultural yields.

Some participants at the workshop commended FEPSAN for the review, adding that the bills would help in the prompt distribution of fertilisers to farmers in the country.

The Growth Enhancement Support Scheme was introduced in 2012.

It was a scheme that allowed full participation of the private sector in the production, importation and distribution of fertilisers and other key agricultural inputs to farmers.

The key objective of the GES was to increase farmers’ access to and use of improved seeds and fertiliser.

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