The Gombe State Government said it is spending N2.5 billion annually to procure and subsidise fertilizer to farmers across the 11 local government areas of the state.
The state Commissioner of Agriculture, Alhaji Dahiru Buba Biri, disclosed this in Gombe during the National Programme on Promotion of Organic Fertiliser Use in Nigeria, organized by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Represented by the Programme Manager of the Agricultural Development Programme (ADP), Mr Laban Binus, the commissioner said the state government was spending the huge amount on agriculture as a tool to alleviate poverty in the rural areas.
“Since coming on board in 2011, this administration spends N2.5 billion annually to procure fertilizer which is given to our farmers on subsidy. As you are aware, over 80 per cent of our people are engaged by agriculture, hence the need for such spending to guarantee wealth for our farmers and reduce poverty in rural areas.
“We have been budgeting for inorganic fertilizer for long, and this year we are looking towards shifting from inorganic to organic fertilizer; we want to engage organic fertilizer companies and focus in that area.
“The benefits of organic farming are enormous as it will boost agricultural yields and enrich more farmers because of the wide acceptance of organic farming produce which are more expensive,” he said.
The commissioner added that the federal government’s intervention in the area was key to the growth of the agriculture sector, adding that produce from Nigeria were being rejected as a result of high level of chemical content.
The Facilitator and Principal Agricultural officer, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Ekeoma Abara, said the sensitisation was timely, adding that there was a global shift from inorganic to organic fertilizer.
Mr Abara said that the federal government organised the programme to promote the use of organic fertilizer for farming, adding that the continuous use of chemical fertilizer was damaging the soil and affecting productivity.
“The federal government wants every farmer to incorporate the use of organic fertilizer in farming. If this is done, it will boost the acceptance of our produce at the international level.
“Since the federal government is committed to diversifying the economy through agriculture, the ministry is employing all means necessary to boost production and alleviate poverty in rural areas,” he said.
North East Trust gathered that the programme, which is expected to cover all 36 states of the federation, is currently going on in Taraba, Sokoto, Gombe and Kano states.
Our correspondent reports that in Gombe, about 200 farmers were engaged, sensitised and linked with organic fertilizer companies during the interactive session.
Source: Daily Trust