The Federal Government has reaffirmed its commitment to implementing the Fertilizer Quality Control Act 2019 to boost food production.
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe, who disclosed this, assured farmers and investors of the government’s plan in effecting the bill.
He revealed this during the ‘Training of Inspectors and Laboratory Technicians/Technologists on Implementation of the National Fertilizer Quality Control Act 2019’, which was held in Abuja.
Umakhihe noted that the Fertilizer Inspectorate was conceptualized to give the Farm Input Support Services Department of the Ministry a strong presence at the state level which is critical to the successful implementation of the bill.
“For Nigeria, the agricultural sector is one of the key drivers of the economy, and a strong and vibrant agricultural sector is needed to ensure job creation, wealth augmentation, and the production of adequate food for our over 200 million population.
“Fertilizer as a powerful productivity-enhancing input is critical to building the vibrant agricultural sector we desire.
“To refocus the sector, the Government started some policy reforms aimed at positioning the fertilizer subsector to play a pivotal role in the Nigerian agricultural transformation.
“One of the earliest reforms was the complete withdrawal of Government from procurement of fertilizer and the support of the private sector to take the lead while government facilitates, as well as provides supporting infrastructure, systems, control processes, and oversight,” Umakhihe said.
The minister pointed out that in a bid to domesticate the blending of NPK fertilizer in Nigeria, the Government banned the importation of finished mineral fertilizer containing two or three fertilizer elements (nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium) into the country.
“To further strengthen the Fertilizer Industry, Mr. President signed the National Fertilizer Quality (Control) Act, 2019 into law to provide an improved regulatory framework for the manufacture, importation, sale, and distribution of fertilizer in Nigeria.
“The implementation of the Act has necessitated the deployment of 170 Fertilizer Inspectors Nationwide to facilitate the enforcement of the provisions of the Act.
“It is envisioned that the implementation of the Act will protect the farmers against nutrient deficiencies, adulteration, misleading claims, and short weight, safeguard the investments of fertilizer enterprises and contribute to the creation of an enabling environment for private sector investment in the fertilizer industry,” he stated.
Umakhihe revealed that the Farm Inputs Support Services Department of the Ministry has commenced full implementation of the Act and the Regulations with the registration of fertilizer operators.
“After the ongoing first-line registration exercise, the department will commence the inspection exercise in which all facilities and products of fertilizer operators will be subjected to series of inspections and tests to ensure they meet the stipulated standards as provided for in the Act and the Regulations,” he added.
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