Nigeria’s Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, has recently flagged off the sales of this year’s branded fertilizer products at N4,000 per bag to farmers in the state. The governor, however, warned that the scheme was meant to help Nigerian farmers and as such he warned against sabotaging the subsidy program or diverting the products for commercial purposes.
Mr el-Rufai confirmed that his administration tried hard to pull out of waste and fraud of fertilizer subsidies that were commonly practiced in the past. The governor said that he banned selling and allocating fertilizer to “big men”, such as commissioners, governors, politicians or senior government officials. He added he was delighted “to be back here [in the town of Giwa] to formally flag-off fertilizer sales for the 2016 farming season. When we performed this ceremony in Kachia on 10th June 2015, we promised to improve on the system of making fertilizer available to our farmers.”
The governor also stressed that now the fertilizer must be only marketed at publicly designated selling points to interested farmers. “This was intended to ensure that every farmer in Kaduna, whether big or small, will have equal opportunity to buy at first-come, first-serve basis,” Mr el-Rufai said and added that “all the changes we effected last year could infuse some order and egalitarianism, but only within a context already distorted by subsidy fraud.”
Agriculture is one of the pillars of Nigeria’s economy. Farming and livestock rearing is the main livelihood for over 70 percent of households in the country. However, the full potential of the country’s agricultural sector has not been realized due to low fertilizer use. To support the sector and thus the economy, the government has been subsidizing fertilizer for the farmers since mid-1970s.