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Minister alerts on plot to deny farmers access to fertiliser

Published by Guardian on Mon, 06 Aug 2012

MINISTER of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, has warned farmers, particularly those in the South-West, to be wary of the new antics of those he referred to as political 'fertiliser merchants'.He added that the merchants weredesperate to rob the farmers of having access to the states' and Federal Government subsidised fertiliser.Adesina spoke at the weekend at Ogbere, Ijebu-East Local Council of the state, during the distribution of subsidised fertiliser - N.P.K and Agrolysers to cocoa farmers in the area in furtherance of the Growth Enhancement Support (GES) programme for cocoa under the Federal Government Agricultural Transformation Agenda (TATA).He revealed that the 'fertiliser merchants' go to the villages to buy Federal Government-subsided fertiliser at cheaper prices and later resell such at exorbitant prices to the farmers.The minister, who was represented at the occasion bythe Regional Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Talabi Julius Odeyemi, saidthe Federal Government had designed strategy to monitor and supervise the distribution channel to ensure that only genuine and registered farmers have access to fertiliser during this year's planting season.Adesina expressed joy that the various governments, despite their political differences, had been co-operating with the Federal Government in ensuring that the subsidised fertiliser were sold to only genuine farmers.He further noted that the dubious business activities of the 'fertiliser merchants'had in the past rendered no fewer than 89 per cent of farmers in the South-Westincapable of accessing fertiliser meant for them.Adesina insisted that his ministry's recent efforts at encouraging private investors to go into procurement of fertiliser and deliver same to farmers, even in remote areas, had hindered the operations of the said merchants.According to him, those political fertiliser dealers used to buy at cheaper rates the Federal Government subsidised fertiliser 'fromstores and ferry them to the northern part of the country and Republic of Benin for sale at exorbitant prices'.He added that 'due to the new measures put in place by his ministry, there is no more avenue for 'corruption and sabotage that fed the unpatriotic business'.
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