Home Agriculture Rice farmers partner agro coys to access affordable fertilisers, chemicals to boost production in 3 months

Rice farmers partner agro coys to access affordable fertilisers, chemicals to boost production in 3 months

by Business News Report

Rice farmers under the auspices of Rice Producers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria, RIPPMAN, have come together through Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, with agro chemicals companies to access affordable fertilisers and chemicals in order to boost rice production within three months and drastically reduce high prices. This was disclosed on the sidelines of a training conducted by the companies for State Coordinators of the Association in the North Central geopolitical zone of the country. Explaining why the Association decided to partner with the agro companies, which are Coldeen Chemicals and Fertiliser Limited and Global M-Co-Soci Ltd, Farmer’s Empowerment, the National President, RIPPMAN, Alhaji Ibrahim Saleh, said the move became imperative based on the determination of leadership of the Association to ensure rice production and availability is sustained based on an MoU the leadership of the Association signed with the companies to supply fertilisers. 

Saleh also said the training of the State Coordinators of the Association in the North Central geopolitical is basically to build their capacity on the application of agro-chemicals on their farms including fertilisers and appropriate chemicals, and the companies have trained them on the applications of their chemicals. According to him, the supply of fertilisers to the farmers is on the heels of an agreement reached between them and the companies by making 50 per cent initial payment of the total amount of fertilisers supplied then pay the balance with rice Paddy to the State Coordinators of the Association in the States, who sell them and pay the company with cash. He said “we have trained State Coordinators of Rice Producers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria, RIPPMAN, in the North East, South-south, North Central geopolitical zones, and on June 7 and 8, 2024, we will be heading to South West geopolitical zone to train our State Coordinators in Akure, the Ondo State capital. Our partnership with the agro-chemical companies have been very cordial because we sat with them to sign a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, which entails acceptance of 50 per cent payment from our farmers, which we tagged the programme and initiative as ‘What a Man can do a Woman can do better’ because women are better in terms of paying debts. After paying the initial 50 per cent, the fertiliser and agro-chemicals are supplied to the farmers and then they will pay the subsequent 50 per cent with the harvest on or before December 31, 2024.”

On default of paying the rest 50 per cent, he disclosed that, “We initiated an agreement form, and in that form any farmer who wants to participate in our initiative or programme must fill the requirements in the form, which the second page is for his guarantor, the third page is for his next of kin in case he does before the date of payment, the fourth page is for his traditional ruler (village or district head) to sign, the fifth page is for the signing by the Commissioner for Oath, and with this we hope we there will not be any form of default.” However, he explained why the Association did not cry to the Government for intervention or support, he said, “We are not accusing them and we are with them, which we are even thanking them for allowing us to form the association. “We started with the government five years ago and nothing came out but thank God, the Tinubu-led administration is willing to work with us, and had even invited us to several meetings, and also asked us to get the data and list of genuine farmers and submit to them through the National Agricultural Growth Scheme, NAGS, which we were connected with the 36 States and FCT Coordinators of NAGS, which we have submitted the names, and are expecting their text messages. He said the farmers under their Association are yet to receive any intervention on the heels of flagging off the dry season farming, which was basically for wheat farmers who benefited from them, and added that they are going to definitely receive the intervention. He also said, his members did not receive anything under the Anchor Borrowers Scheme, ABS, under the leadership of former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Godwin Emefiele, but the Tinubu-led administration is on their demands.

Meanwhile, he called on President Bola Tinubu to ensure all promises made to farms are fulfilled, and should carry along all commodity associations to make his agricultural policies and programmes a success in achieving self-sufficiency in food and nutrition. He urged State Governors to prioritise boosting of food production and interventions to facilitate farmers’ productivity. The Managing Director, Coldeen Chemicals and Fertiliser Company Limited, Engr Attahiru Turaki, said the partnership with the Association is basically to assist farmers have access to fertilisers (Urea, NPK 20:10:10, NPK 15:15, NPK15:15+10.6; Sulpha 27:13:13, and organic fertiliser, and prices differ) with 50 per cent initial payment and the remaining balance is redeemed after the planting season when they have harvested their crops with cash and not with the paddy rice, and that the association nerves as guarantors to the farmers. “In this first phase we are targeting all farmers in Nigeria and we are going to supply farmers in each State with 1,800 bags of fertiliser. The cost of production for 600 bags of NPK 20:10:10 weighing 50kg is N18 million. We are going to renew the MoU next year because the MoU is for one year”, he added. Also speaking, the Managing Director, and Chief Executive Officer, CEO, Global M-Co-Soci Ltd, Farmer’s Empowerment, Abuchi Nwazulu pointed out that fertiliser is a major challenge to farmers.

“The major problem of the farmers under the Association is fertiliser, and our company is in charge of power organic fertiliser and crystaliser fertiliser in North East Nigeria, and our mission is to make sure that these products reach the end user who are the real farmers, which we empower them, whereby they pay 50 per cent, and if the farmers pay that N50 per cent and we see that the farmers did what was expected of them, we will go down and expand their agricultural activities in Nigeria. On default, what I am advising is that the farmers’ Coordinators should be real farmers and should faithfully pay the remaining 50 per cent”, Nwazulu said. Meanwhile, he assured the Association and farmers that his company will encourage them if not there will be problem in food production.

“We want to encourage farmers because without we encouraging them there will be a problem in food production, even though Government can do it for them, let the farmers also know that there are things they can do and when you are doing what you supposed to do Government will do what they supposed to do”, he added. Also, the Assistant National Organizing Secretary, RIPPMAN, Alhaji Sanusi Ibrahim Musawa, commended efforts of the leadership of the Association based on the move to boost rice production, and pointed out despite challenges the leadership is working hard, and made it known that State Coordinators of the Association to buy the fertilisers and supply the farmers, and that is a sign of commitment and seriousness which could attract government to assist also with interventions. Musawa also commended the Governor of Katsina State, Dikko Radda, on containing insecurity in the State and to make the environment conducive for food production, and added that the Governor should take another step to provide interventions for farmers as well. The State Coordinator, RIPPMAN, Alexander Okpanachi, who also doubles as Coordinator of State Coordinators of RIPPMAN in the North Central geopolitical zone of the country, expressed optimism that the companies coming in will boost productivity of farmers based on easy access and affordability of the fertilizers with 50 per cent of initial payment and balance with rice Paddy, and added that 2,000 farmers in each State will benefit from the initiative, and this will enable them produce rice by October which is within three months, therefore, the remaining balance is paid to the companies.

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