The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said it has presented a certificate of registration and sales permit to fertiliser operators. The presentation was made yesterday (September 1, 2022) in Abuja by the permanent secretary, Dr Ernest Umakhihe.
Represented by the director of special duties, Mrs. Fausat Lawal, Umakhihe revealed that the ministry had trained and deployed to the 36 states and FCT, fertiliser and agricultural pesticides quality control inspectors who are currently working with relevant security agencies to ensure compliance with the provisions of the act and regulations, to protect the farmers and the industries.
He pointed out that the non-licensed operators are not allowed to produce, blend, import, market or distribute fertilisers in the country. Then urged the suppliers to ensure that only licensed agro-dealers are allowed to buy their products, likewise to abide strictly and operate within the provisions of the Act and the implementing regulations.
Umakhihe revealed that a grace period of two months has been granted for those who have not obtained theirs as failure to do so will have their facilities sealed off with resultant prosecution, which is to reiterate that the Ministry through its authorised agent will continue to seal premises of fertiliser adulterators, as was witnessed in Kano and Adamawa states once the Certificate of Registration and Sales Permits are concluded.
The permanent secretary said the Act required that, upon fulfilment of all required conditions, fertiliser suppliers, manufacturers/producers, blenders and importers will be issued with the Certificate of Registration while agro-dealers (distributors) that fulfil the conditions will be issued sales permits. Umakhihe advised them to display same in strategic areas of their facilities and pointed out that the National Fertilizer Quality Control (NFQC) Act was in the process of being repealed to accommodate agricultural pesticides in the Act.
He explained that the essence was to consolidate and expand the Act, curtail the effect of contaminated foods and address the blending of adulterated fertilisers for the interest of farmers, genuine operators and the protection of the environment.
He commended the Federal Government for the National Fertilizer Quality Control Act signed into law in 2019 as well as the implementing regulations that were signed by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development in 2020 which require that all companies interested in operating in Nigeria be registered and get the Certificate of Registration and Sales Permit from the authorised implementing authority.
Umahkhihe also stated that it was clear that global food security challenges had worsened as a result of the Ukraine-Russia conflict and unstable foreign exchange rates which had disrupted livelihoods.
He, however, pointed out that efforts were on to address the challenges to enhance the food production and food security challenges, particularly those affecting the fertiliser industry.
The perm sec further revealed that efforts were being made to source basic raw materials unavailable in the country like di-ammonia phosphate (DAP) and muriate of potash (MOP), sourced from Morocco and Belarus respectively.
The resultant scarcity, he noted, gave rise to the high cost of the raw materials and the price of the corresponding finished products – NPKs – but, to tackle the issue head-on, the ministry is working with relevant agencies to source the both raw materials locally through the Solid Mineral Development Fund to guide against future scarcity.
Earlier in his remarks, the director, farm inputs support services department, Mr. Kwaido Sanni represented by the deputy director, Ishaku Ardo Buba said since the enactment of the fertiliser regulatory system in 2019, a lot of activities and programmes have been designed and put in place as a guide or roadmap to ensure the effective and efficient implementation of the act, to achieve its aims and objectives.
He explained further that the implementation process of the fertilizer act and the fertiliser regulations were flagged off in March 2020 and followed by training and deployment of fertilizer quality control inspectors to all the 36 States and FCT; provision of inspectors branded motorcycles and kits to inspect the facilitate their desired activities.
He reiterated that the act and regulations were not intended to create a stumbling block for operators’ business but to protect genuine entrepreneurs, the farmers, the environment and the citizenry from both economic and human losses.
A statement by the ministry’s director of information signed by Olatunji Modupe, said in his goodwill messages, the representative of the national security adviser, Mr. Sunny Okile commended the ministry for a great event and congratulated all the operators for acquiring legal permits. He urged them to operate within the provisions of the act and the regulations.