By Adeniyi Adedeji, Ilorin
OCP Africa, a leading company in the production and exportation of phosphate-based fertilizers is partnering with Kwara State to assist farmers this farming season.
The company on Thursday distributed NKP 20:10:10 fertiliser to 3,000 smallholder farmers in Edu Local Government Area of the state to boost rice production.
OCP Africa is working within the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative, PFI, of the Federal Government of Nigeria. It is also working with blending plants under the Fertiliser Producers and Suppliers of Nigeria, FEPSAN, to contribute to the PFI objectives of providing access to locally produced NPK 20:10:10 fertiliser for smallholder farmers.
Business Development Officer, OCP Africa Nigeria, Mr Isaac Odey, said during the flag off of the distribution of the fertilizers in Kwara State that the intervention was to support the Federal and state governments’ efforts in ensuring food security in the country.
Chief of Staff to Kwara State governor, Aminu Adisa Logun, while speaking at the occasion said the distribution of subsidised fertilisers in the state would enable the state to regain its lost glory in rice production and attain food security.
He said, “We are giving our farmers the necessary support to make the state among farming states feeding the nation. Kwara happened to be the first place to produce rice in Northern Nigeria in those days. So, we’re bringing back the glory in rice production.”
Also in attendance at the flag off ceremony were few officials OCP Africa and farmers; the low attendance rate was occasioned by the COVID-19 restrictions.
Logun added, “You can see the path the governor and the government have been taking since we came in. It is all about service to the people. In Edu, their main occupation is farming, so we’re giving them the facilities needed to ease their farming activities.
“We have given our farmers tractors, now we’re supporting our farmers through OCP Africa, with subsidised fertilisers and by next year, we will double what we are giving them this year.”
Appealing to the farmers not to resell the fertilisers, but utilise them for the intended purposes to boost their yields this farming season, Logun said, “We want all these bags of fertilisers to be used here in Kwara. Please try and manage all these items very well. I want to assure you that this time next year we will do much better than this.”
Technical Assistant to the governor on Agriculture, Abdulquawiy Olododo, while speaking said the gesture was being extended to the Kwara State government by OCP Africa under the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative, adding, “This programme will be reaching out to 3,000 farmers in Edu Local Government Area. Each of the subsidised fertiliser will be sold at the rate of N4,500 per bag to our farmers. Each farmer is entitled to two bags of fertiliser – NPK20-10-10 – to ensure food security in the state.
“Farming is in phases and it is all about value chains. We have assisted farmers with tractors for land preparation and now we are moving to input. One of the ways to ensure that farmers do not sell the items we’re giving them is the introduction of technology.
“OCP Africa has engaged some extension officers, who will be monitoring every farmer benefitting from the fertilisers intervention through their platform called Udongo.
“OCP Africa has been working in 10 states before and Kwara happens to be the 11th. When we came in, we were looking for ways to secure various interventions and we approached OCP Africa to assist our farmers in the state with subsidised fertilisers.”