Agro-dealers Association of Nigeria has appealed to the Federal Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to make foreign currencies available to dealers for importation of raw materials for fertiliser production.
Mr Kabiru Umar, the National Chairman of the association, made the appeal in an interview with newsmen in Nasarawa State on Thursday.
He spoke on the sidelines of the Growth Enhancement Support (GES) scheme preparatory meeting on the 2016/2017 dry season farming
Umar said that availability of the foreign currencies to agro-dealers and suppliers would ensure reduction in the cost of fertiliser to end users (farmers), boost agricultural yields and guarantee food security in the country.
The national chairman expressed regret that fertiliser manufacturers and blenders were currently getting foreign currencies at high prices, hence the high cost of fertiliser and food items in the markets.
“The Federal Government must step into this situation to make sure that fertiliser blenders get the right foreign currency at the right price.
“If you allow manufacturers of fertiliser to go to the open market and buy dollars, which means it will be very difficult for them to produce and sell at the normal price and the price will go high.
“The manufacturers and blenders need to be assisted at least at control price with a stringent law that the currency must be used for that purpose and the agricultural sector will boom again, “ he said.
Mr Sanusi Yari, the National Board of Trustees (BOT) member of the association, commended the Federal Government for its support to farmers in the supply of inputs and fertiliser.
Yari appealed to the government to offset the over N40 billion owed agro dealers in order to boost agricultural production.
“It is very important for government to key into the supply of fertiliser and other inputs to farmers to boost agricultural production.
“Now that oil and gas are no longer buoyant, a lot of people are now turning to agriculture.
“We appreciate the government for the payment of 30 per cent payment it gave us but they need to off-set this bill.
“The banks are not willing to support us for now but we are willing to key into the agricultural policies of the government and participate actively, “ he said.
Mr Muhammad Lamir, the Chief Executive Officer, Manny Agro and Allied Chemicals, appealed to the Federal Government to urgently address issues in the agro-allied sector.
Lamir said the 2016/2017 Growth Enhancement Support (GES) scheme dry season farming would not be successful and profitable if problems in the sector were not resolved.
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