The Taraba State government says it has no money to procure fertiliser for distribution to farmers in the state this year.
The Permanent Secretary, Taraba State Ministry of Agriculture, Mr. Isaac Mella, who was reacting to farmers’ outcry over non-distribution of fertiliser to them by the state government, said the government has no money to perform such obligation this year.
He told Daily Trust in Jalingo that the financial difficulty the state was facing has made it impossible for the government to buy the commodity for the farmers.
He said though huge amount of money was allocated to the agriculture sector in this year’s budget, it was not possible to implement what was in the budget due to lack of funds.
Meanwhile, farmers in the state have lamented that the failure of the state government to subsidise fertiliser and other farm inputs has left them at the mercy of middlemen.
The farmers said in separate interviews with our reporter that the situation has left them in serious difficulties.
One of the farmers, Malam Bello Iware, said as a result of non-distribution of the commodity and other farm inputs by the state government, they have to resort to the open market to buy the commodity at high prices.
Malam Bello disclosed that middlemen and commercial tractor operators were using the absence of subsidised fertiliser to exploit farmers in the state.
“We are buying fertiliser at twice the price of subsidised fertiliser sold by the state government,’’ Malam Bello lamented.
He said middlemen were selling a bag of fertiliser at rate of N4,500 instead of N2,400 sold to farmers by the government last year.
Another farmer, Mr Bulus James, said it would be difficult for farmers to make gain from their farm produce because of the high cost of farm inputs.
He said the state government was not serious about developing agriculture by refusing to subsidise inputs this cropping season.