Msughshima Andrew, Makurdi

Benue State government has flagged off sales and distribution of assorted fertilizer to State farmers for the 2019 Cropping Season.

Speaking during the flag-off, at the Benue Fertilizer Blending and Mixing Plant in Makurdi, Governor Samuel Ortom said the flag-off is part of government effort to support the Agricultural Sector to achieve sustainable food security and accelerated improvement in the livelihood of Benue citizens.

He enthused that Benue is blessed with a lot of agricultural potentials and Government is poised to offer maximum support to harness these potentials to fast-track economic and social development of our people.

Represented by his deputy, Engr. Benson Abounu, Ortom explained that through the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, he had engage Vendors to supply 180 Trucks, an equivalent of 5,400 metric Tons of Granulated Inorganic Fertilizer, 5,000 litres of Liquid Organic Fertilizer and 2,500 litres of Plant health promoter to meet fertilizer needs of farmers in the State.

Ortom urged Benue farmers to maximally utilize these important farm inputs on their crops for a bumper 2019 harvest and to avoid the quick gains of selling them to middlemen and black marketers.

“The task of monitoring fertilizer sales and distribution is the job of all and sundry to forestall diversion. Let me warn that anybody caught sabotaging this exercise will face appropriate sanctions.”

Ortom announced that one bag of 50kg of fertilizer irrespective of brand, would be sold to farmers at 3,400.00 only while a litre of Liquid Organic Fertilizer shall be sold to farmers at subsidized rate of 2,000.00 only and a litre of Plant Health Promoter to be sold to farmers at the subsidized rate of N3,500.00 only.

He said the prices means that over 40 percent cost on all brands of fertilizer will be borne by the State Government to make the products affordable to the farmers.

He encouraged farmers to ignore distractions and concentrate on the God-given resources and sustain the state’s position as the Food Basket of the Nation.

He said his administration have worked out modalities for the take-off of the Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project 3 (RAAMP3) in the State to enhance the development and rehabilitation of 500 kilometers of Rural Roads across the State for easy movement of farm produce to markets.

He assured that this window will provide easier accessibility to the hinterland and thus create the enabling environment for investors.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Lady Helen Atom thanked Governor Ortom for his unwavering commitment towards satisfying the needs of Benue farmers; naming procurement of inputs, payment of arrears to vendors and counterpart funds for projects to development partners.

She promised that non of the products will be diverted as the ministry has devised ways to check the sharp practices of middlemen and black marketers.