The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Sen. Abubakar Kyari, on Monday warned manufacturers and agro-inputs dealers not to sell adulterated materials to farmers in order to ensure food sufficiency.
Kyari gave the warning in Ibadan during a capacity training of selected manufacturers, importers, blenders and agro-dealers in the South-West and South-East geo-political zones.
The training centred on the use and application of the National Fertilizer Quality Control Act (NFQC) and Regulations.
Kyari, represented by the ministry’s South-West Zonal Director, Mrs Abimbola Akeredolu, said the ministry was saddled with the responsibility of making policies and other things that would make food available.
He said however that agro-dealers have a crucial role of making quality farm inputs available to farmers.
The Minister pointed out that there could not be high farm yields if the dealers did not provide the right inputs.
“We are depending on you to let your sense of patriotism come to play. You have a stake in the country and can make things to work better.
“As agro-dealers, it is important for you to give the best to farmers in order to have improved farm yields.
“You must be honest with them and make sure where you are to give 25 kilogrammes, it is actually 25kg. You have to support this country to move forward,” he said.
Kyari said the ministry has organised several training for farmers, agro-dealers and other stakeholders with the overall objectives of improving productivity in the agriculture sector.
“The first problematic issue in Nigeria is not the dollar exchange rate, but the problem of getting food on the table of all Nigerians.
“You as agro-dealers are not in the farms, but it is what you give to the farmers that they will take to their farms to improve their yields.
“It is when their yields have improved that we can have more food on the table of all Nigerians.
“At this time of the year in the past, food is supposed to be cheap because almost all food items are already out from farms. But that is not what we are experiencing now, food is very expensive,” he said.
Kyari urged the agro-dealers and other agriculture stakeholders to support the ministry and play their roles to make Nigeria better and ensure food availability in the country.
On their part, the ministry’s Deputy Director in charge of organic, Mrs Janet Igoh, and the ministry’s Oyo State Coordinator, Dr Florence Kakulu, urged agro-dealers to ensure they were registered.
They said this was in order to avoid sanctions.
Igho said the ministry’s farm inputs support services unit was saddled with the responsibility of regulating the sales, production and usage of fertiliser in Nigeria.
”You will be strictly monitored to ensure you are doing the right things,” she said.
Kakulu on her part said the agro-dealers, manufacturers and blenders who were registered have a lot to gain from the government, and urged them to register at the appropriate time.
The President, West Agro-Inputs Dealers Association (WAIDA), Alhaji Sulaiman Adekola, said the training was beneficial to them and would enable them to eliminate sharp practices in the sector.
Adekola said a lot of fake dealers were destroying the credibility of their business, and the association would not rest on its oars to ensure they were removed from the industry.
Also, Mrs Ogochukwu Okoli, an executive member of Nigeria Agro-Inputs Dealers Association (NAIDA) and Lagos Chairman of WAIDA, said the training exposed them to the need for quality control in fertiliser.
Okoli urged farmers to ensure they patronise the registered members of the association in order to guard against buying adulterated inputs.