The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Nanono, has called on fertiliser dealers to operate in line with the provisions of the National Fertilizer Quality Control (NFQC) Act and the fertiliser regulations.
Nanono made the call on Tuesday in Abuja during the workshop organized for fertiliser dealers on their expectations in the Act and the regulations.
The NFQC Act was enacted to control and regulate the manufacture, production, blending, importation and sales as well as distribution of fertiliser in Nigeria.
Nanono assured operators of the business that the ministry would provide all the necessary support and assistance for them to carry on their legitimate business unhindered.
He stressed that increased agricultural productivity for national food security “could only be achieved through the provision of quality fertiliser and other key farm inputs”.
He said that the regulations provided step-by-step processes, procedures and implementation guidelines, which should be followed for effective enforcement of the Fertiliser Act.
He said that in the Act, fertiliser operators were expected to obtain certificate of registration or sales permit, after payment of some prescribed fees, charges before they could be allowed to operate any fertiliser business in the country.
Also speaking, National Security Adviser Babagana Monguno said that the fertiliser law was enacted to protect the interests of farmers and other stakeholders.
Monguno, who was represented by Mr Okigbe Sunday, said that the protection of fertiliser supply chains played an important role in efforts to attain food security, saying that the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) would not shirk its duty in that regard.
He said that ONSA resented the diversion of fertiliser to unathorised persons or places.
“Regulation of the environment is very critical for the product, so as to protect and safeguard the interest of farmers,” he said.
Monguno said the Federal Government had striven to make the fertiliser industry more private-sector driven through various programmes aimed at improving fertiliser supplies.
Prof. Yemi Akinseye-George, in his presentation on the Fertiliser Act and the Draft Regulations, underscored the need to put in place a proper environment to regulate the fertiliser business.
He enumerated some prohibitions in the Act such as operating with expired permit or certificate, as well as the use of destructive ingredients or harmful properties.
He warned that anyone who violated the law would face stiff penalties, adding that if convicted, the offenders would face a minimum of five years’ imprisonment, without an option of fine.