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August 09, 2015

Oil rich Nigeria struggles to supply its farmers affordable fertiliser

Nigeria is one of the African countries that at State level would be expected to easily afford to avail its farmers affordable fertiliser, but that issue is a sore, perennially controversial one for the oil-rich nation.

The reasons for this are many and varied, and include the varying capacities and committments of the component state governments of Nigeria's federalised national governance structure.

Virtually every year there are widespread complaints of inefficiency or corruption in the administration of various fertiliser accessibility schemes.

In Adamawa State, farmers complain that promised subsidised fertiliser has not been forthcoming, well after the cropping season has started. “Lack of it at this critical time will surely affect our yield since we can’t afford to purchase directly from market where it goes for about Naira 8,000 per bag,’’ one farmer said.

(Insert: Naira 8,000 = U.S. $40 as at 06 August 2015)

An aide to the Adamawa State governor said that 30,000 tonnes of the still to be delivered fertiliser had been purchased.

Meanwhile in Bauchi State, the government has purchased 10,000 tonnes of fertiliser to supply to its farmers at subsidised prices of Naira 2700 (U.S.$15) per 50kg of compound fertiliser (NPK) and Naira 3000 for a 50kg of Urea, almost two thirds less than the free market price mentioned by the farmer quoted in Adamawa State.

Nigeria's average fertiliser use is about 5kg/hectare. For comparison, in South Africa and Egypt the figure is over 100kg.hectare, while in many developed countries it is over 200kg.hectare.

African Agriculture

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