Ministry vows to punish fertilizer adulterators with 10 yrs imprisonment

sets to ameliorate the plight of flood-affected farmers with inputs
By Gabriel Ewepu, ABUJA

AS food production and security remain paramount to sustain Nigeria and Nigerians, the Farm Inputs Support Services Department of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural, Tuesday, vowed to severely punish fertilizer adulterators with 10 years imprisonment.

The warning was on the heels of a one-day capacity building of fertilizer quality control inspectors across the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.

he capacity building christened ‘Zonal Sensitization Training Workshop for Fertilizer Quality Control Inspectors and other Relevant Stakeholders’ focused on the enforcement of provisions of the National Fertilizer Quality Control Act, 2019 and the Regulations, 2020.

Also the training was on the promotion of organic fertilizer preparation and use at local level using eco-friendly agricultural technologies.

Speaking on the essence of the training, the Director, FISSD, Kwaido Sani, who was represented by Deputy Director, FISSD, Ishaku Buba, said, “We selected one inspector from the 37 States of the Federation to train them on certain new developments, we had trained them before but at any time we are evolving.

“At times it is not the issue of quantity that is the issue of quality. So that is why we now have this National Fertilizer Quality Control Act so that anybody producing or distributing in Nigeria and distributed in line with the set standards in terms of quantity and quality.

“So that is why we are here to enforce the provisions of the Act to ensure that anybody within the system produces what is required and is based on set standards.

“We also have another law covering the West African sub-region, of which Nigeria is a member and we have endorsed that and any product produced in Nigeria; can be sold freely in West African countries.

“And what the platform we have said earlier is also tracking fertilizer production. Let us for example, somebody got raw materials to produce 100,000 bags and based on our tracking mechanism we track the source of raw material, we will know the quantity that raw material he or she has gotten can produce and if eventually you produced excess you did adulteration and it will be flagged; this person that got raw materials produced in excess of 200, 000 bags, so we flag that system and our inspectors are there.

“We have what is called ‘Stop sale order or stop production’, we can seal the premises and start our investigation or you will be asked to face the wrath of the law, which is very severe.

“Our warning to adulterators is that time has passed where you can do whatever you want. Now the law is in place and the law is stringent, it does not respect who you are, as far as you are involved in any cases of adulteration, diversion and what have you, the law will take its course on you and it is a very severe, it is up to 10 years imprisonment without option depending on the degree of the offense.

“And we have been circulating we are being sensitized and we have given a deadline from the 1st of January 2023, once you don’t have our sales permit, or certificate of registration you don’t operate in Nigeria, and we can detect in the event or somebody will want to fake it and there is no way you can fake it.

“We have asked all the security agencies working with our inspector to seal any premises that do not display a copy of its Certificate of Registration or sales permit.

“The Certificate of Registration is for the input producers, particularly, fertilizer and sales permit is for the distributors. So once you get it you paste a copy and the barcode on it our inspectors can verify what is genuine or not.

“From 1st January, 2023 now except you are a new entrance and if you are not a new entrance, once you want to register and you have been existing before you have to pay a late registration.”

However, he said it is not all animal waste that is good for preparation of organic fertilizer, because they do not dissolve and are destructive to the plant, and that forms part of the capacity building organized by the Department.”

Meanwhile, speaking on what the FISS Department plans to do in assisting flood affected farmers going back to their farmers for the dry season farming, he explained that the Department is also waiting for the outcome the Presidential Committee on Flooding who are in States of the federation to ascertain what farmers had lost to the flood and recommendations presented in their report, then the FISS Department will set in to assist farmers based on the scale of farming they embark on.

“In terms of our own department, we are an input department, whenever a decision is taken that some of the farmers will be compensated with grain some may