Remarks by Malam Nasir El-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State, at the flag-off of fertilizer sales for the 2016 farming season; Giwa, 04 June 2015


I offer warm greetings to the people of Giwa. Our government team and party leaders are delighted to be in your local government today. We are grateful for your support and your resilience in the face of security challenges. Giwa Local Government area is a veritable breadbasket, and we are undertaking security operations here to ensure that criminal elements do not threaten farming activities or undermine the rural economy.

Today, we are delighted to be back here to formally flag-off fertilizer sales for the 2016 farming season. When we performed this ceremony in Kachia on 10th June 2015, we promised to improve on the system of making fertilizer available to our farmers. We stopped the past practice of allocating fertilizer to big men - whether they are the governor, commissioners or traditional rulers, politicians or senior government officials. We directed instead that fertilizer must be sold only at publicly-designated selling points to interested farmers. This was intended to ensure that every farmer in Kaduna, whether big or small, will have equal opportunity to buy at first-come, first-serve basis.

All the changes we effected last year could infuse some order and egalitarianism, but only within a context already distorted by subsidy fraud. This year we have gone further. We have pulled the Kaduna State Government out of the waste and fraud of fertilizer subsidy. In its place, we have put our influence and credibility to attract private providers of fertilizer and negotiated a fair price with them on behalf of our farmers. Without putting a kobo of government money, we have made it possible for a farmer to buy fertilizer (NPK and Urea) from private supplies at N4000 per bag this farming season.

That is how government plays the role of enabler. Giving the farmer access to a critical input, generating economic activity and saving the government money. We intend going forward to even make this kind of fertilizer sales flag-offs obsolete. Fertilizer should be bought and sold all year round, with government ensuring that that the fertilizer meets quality standards. We have to routinise fertilizer availability, and our success in that will make ceremonies like this unnecessary.

Ladies and gentlemen, our commitment to agriculture is a matter of necessity. Our farmers know how to farm, and they provide us comparative advantage. But farm productivity has to be increased, and we need to attract more and younger farmers. We will support the agricultural sector to deliver food and jobs. It is a key investment sector, and a major resource for lifting our people out of poverty.  As we bring the big commercial farmers into our state, we will do our duty to support the small farmer. With thriving farms, big and small, Kaduna State will be reinforced as a major Centre for crop and livestock production and processing.

It is my pleasure to flag-off the sale of fertilizer for the 2016 farming season. This year’s is predicted to be a short raining season. I wish our farmers a bumper harvest.

Thank you all and God Bless.

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