The Akwa Ibom Government says it has spent N3.3 billion on the procurement of 30,000 tonnes of fertiliser to ensure adequate food production in the 2017 farming season.
Dr Uduak Udoinyang, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Sufficiency, said this while speaking with newsmen in Uyo.
He said that the action was aimed at increasing agricultural productivity so as to attain food sufficiency in the state.
He said that government had already taken delivery of 10,000 tonnes of the fertiliser.
Udoinyang called on real farmers from the state to come forward and purchase the fertiliser at a subsidised price of N6,000 per bag.
He said that the state was one of the first states in the country to take delivery of the commodity from Federal Government.
He said that the remaining 20,000 tonnes of fertiliser would soon arrive in the state for onward distribution to farmers.
The commissioner called on farmers to take advantage of the government gesture to increase their productivity.
“We have abundant fertiliser; some states have not even taken delivery of the product. I am waiting for our farmers to come and procure the fertiliser at N6,000 per bag. The fertiliser, being sold in the open market, cannot be compared with the one we have in terms of quality,’’ he said.
Udoinyang called on youths in the state to return to farm and take agriculture as their livelihood, adding that the era of looking down on agriculture as a non-lucrative venture was over.
He said that government had acquired 10 tractors to boost mechanised and commercial agriculture this year.
“We are going to see a very robust planting this year,’’ he said.
Udoinyang blamed middlemen for the current scarcity of foodstuffs and the high cost of staple foods like garri, rice and beans in the state.
“There is a clique and the middlemen have formed themselves into a cabal and unions in every market; we are trying to understand their politics,’’ he said.
He assured the people of a drastic reduction in food prices in the state as soon as government was able to dislodge the devious clique and unions in the markets.