Alhaji Muhammad Nanono, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, has called on fertilizer dealers to do their business in line with the provisions of the National Fertilizer Quality Control (NFQC) Act and the Fertilizer Regulations.
Nanono made the call on Tuesday in Abuja during a three – day workshop for fertilizer dealers on the operationalization of the Act and the Regulations.
The NFQC Act was enacted to control and regulate the manufacture, production, blending, importation and sales as well as the distribution of fertilizer in Nigeria.
The Minister assured operators of the business that the Ministry would provide all necessary support and assistance needed to carry on their legitimate business unhindered.
He said that productivity for national food security “could only be achieved through the provision of quality fertilizer and other key farm inputs”.
Nanono said the regulations provided a step -by -step process, procedures and implementation guidelines to be followed for effective enforcement of the Fertilizer Act.
He said the Act stipulated that fertilizer operators would be expected to obtain a certificate of registration or sales permit upon payment of some prescribed charges before being allowed to operate any fertilizer business in the country.
Speaking, the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, represented by Mr Okigbe Sunday, said the fertilizer law was for the interest of farmers and other stakeholders.
Monguno noted that agriculture played an important role in food security saying that the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) would ensure the security of the product to farmers.
Monguno said that ONSA frowned at the issue of diversion of fertilizer to unauthorised persons or places.
“Regulation of the environment is very critical for the product, to protect and safeguard the interest of farmers,” he said.
Monguno said the Federal Government had made good attempts at making the fertilizer industry more private-sector driven through various programmes aimed at improving fertilizer supply.
Prof. Yemi Akinseye-George, in his presentation of the Fertilizer Act and the Draft Regulations, said that proper environment was very important to regulate the fertilizer product.
Akinseye-George enumerated some prohibited activities such as operating with an expired permit or certificate, as well as the use of destructive ingredients or harmful properties.
He said there were stiff penalties with a minimum of five years imprisonment without an option of fine for violators of the Act.