The Fertilizer Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria (FEPSAN) on Monday advised crop farmers to patronize only certified fertilizer distributors to avoid purchasing fake fertilizers from dubious dealers.
The association’s Executive Secretary, Alhaji Ahmed Rabiu Kwa, gave the advice while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
Kwa said that accredited fertilizer dealers were expected to have certificates from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and from FEPSAN hanging on the walls of their business premises.
“Farmers will get good quality fertilizer from certified and registered distributors across the country who have their certificate of registration from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and FEPSAN.
“They should have these certificates hanging on their walls and if a farmer do not see them, ask questions or an evidence to prove their authenticity and if they are not satisfied with the answer, please, do not patronize them.
“The public should be vigilant in their communities and should report any fake producer around their areas because some of them have been apprehended by security operatives,’’ he told NAN on telephone.
He said that some producers of fake fertilizer stuffed bags bearing the names of known fertilizer brands, whereas the content was fake and would not give the farmer the desired yield.
Kwa highlighted some of the determinants of a good fertilizer, which include that the granules would not crush easily on the palm even after pressure was exerted among others.
“To be able to understand quality fertilizer, you will need some technical knowledge, it is not easy to identity fake from good fertilizer.
“Generally, on sight fake fertilizer contains ingredients that are not consistent and when held in the palm you will see that it breaks up into dust or sand.
“However, you will notice that the granules of a good fertilizer are strong and do not break just crushing in your hands even though a farmer still have to go to a fertilizer laboratory to determine the actual nutrient content.
“Those fake fertiliser producers just put together some debris, sand and other unwanted substance and fake the bags of known fertiliser companies.
“If a buyer is not watchful, he can buy that fertiliser and when he applies it on the farm, at the end of the day, he will discover that the fertiliser has made no impact. It is therefore, pertinent to advise that everyone be watchful, ‘’ he said.
The secretary told NAN that he was particularly excited with the development in the fertilizer sub-sector owing to the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI) for the production of NPK which was established in 2017.
Kwa said that since inception of PFI the number of local blending companies in Nigeria had increased from 5 to 16 currently, and the association was hopeful that the 2018 target of 1 million metric tonnes of fertilizer will be achieved.
NAN reports that in 2017, local blenders under the PFI were able to produce 500,000 metric tonnes of fertiliser and the price of 50kg bag was sold at N5,500. This many believe had stabilized fertiliser price in the retail market.