Despite the Nigerian-Morocco fertiliser deal that has helped in increasing the country’s local blending capacity and reduce the prices of fertilisers, farmers are still unable to easily access the soil fertility booster as at when needed.
Farmers across the country have continued to complain about the late arrival of fertilisers after farming processes have begun.
As a result, lots of farmers are forced to either grow their crops without the application of sufficient fertilisers or wait for the next planting season as farming is seasonal.
Experts in the fertiliser industry have attributed this to the poor network of fertiliser distribution and the huge infrastructural gaps in the country.
According to them, fertilisers are available in most blending plants, but the poor road network across the country and the bulkiness of the product has made it difficult to distribute to farmers timely.
They noted that the issue is even more serious in some states compare to others and that the challenge has made agro dealers spend more on transportation of fertilisers to farmers.
“There are lots of fertilisers in the country but the distribution network is a big problem to farmers and the fertilisers companies,” said Muhamed Hettiti, managing director, OCP Africa Fertilisers Nigeria Limited in a chat with the Food and Agricultural Writers (FAWON) members in Lagos recently.
“We have a challenge between the ports and the blending units but we still have a bigger challenge after the blending units. Farming is timely and if farmers do not get fertilisers at the right time, it will affect their output,” Hettiti said.
To provide a solution to the challenge, he said that OCP has established a one stop shop to be sure that farmers get fertilisers easily.
One of the greatest problems confronting rural farmers and communities in Nigeria is the absence of critical infrastructure such as ‘motorable’ roads.
Nigeria continues to suffer low levels of agricultural productivity due to infrastructural deficit across the country. Due to the deplorable state of roads, agro dealers find it difficult to transit fertilisers to the farms for farmers.
“It is difficult to get fertilisers despite we produce more now. The dealers keep promising to supply early but most times they do not. The fertilisers comes most time when we are a month or two into the season,” Ademola Olagoke, a vegetable farmer in Ogun state said.
“Each time we complain they normally attribute it to the poor road network. Our roads are bad and it has continued to affect us farmers,” Olagoke said.
He called on the government to bridge the country’s huge infrastructural gaps, saying that the country cannot achieve food sufficiency if issues around agriculture are not fully addressed.