Dr Tunde Arosanyin, National Coordinator of the Zero Hunger Commodity Association of Nigeria, has expressed concerns over the quality of inputs supplied under the Federal Government’s Anchor Borrowers Programme.
Arosanyin told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja that fertilizers, herbicides and other inputs distributed to farmers under the scheme were “a bit substandard”.
An initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the anchor borrowers programme was launched by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.
It aims at creating a linkage between anchor companies involved in the processing and small holder farmers of the required key agricultural commodities.
“If you look at the quality of inputs that are coming from CBN and other inputs suppliers, they are a bit substandard.
“For instance, the fertilizers are hygroscopic, that is, they attract so much water.
“When you keep such fertilizer for one week, 50 per cent of it is gone by melting into water, and this affects most of the farmers
“Most farmers lost 50 per cent of what they received before usage,” Arosanyin said.
He further stated that herbicides coming from the programme were not efficient in terms of having the essential ingredients.
“The efficacy is less than 60 per cent. Most of the herbicides supplied in the past did not have proper control on the weed.
“Timely distribution of these inputs is another challenge. Like last year, most of the inputs got to farmers between August and September.
“Rainfall in the middle belt had established by April and May. If inputs are coming from government institutions, they should ensure these inputs are on ground by April so that by May, they should start distributing these inputs to the farmers.”
In a related development, Mrs Comfort Sunday, farmer in the Federal Capital Territory, has decried the insincerity displayed on the sales of fertiliser under the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative.
According to her, the programme is created to aid increase in the productivity of rural farmers especially women has not really impacted well on the rural farmers.
“The way the distribution of fertiliser was handled by the federal government through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture is capable of discouraging women farmers from engaging in agribusiness.
“The insincerity displayed on the sales of the fertiliser as against the promises made to the farmers on easy accessibility especially through the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative Programme is thing of concern.
“The fertiliser is being sold at N9, 000 as against N5, 000 as promised by the federal government is beyond expectation, ” she said.
She, however, for urgent steps should be taken to address the challenge in order to have easy access of the fertiliser at an afforded price towards the 2019 farming season.(NAN)