Farmers in Akwa Ibom State are at loggerheads with the state government over the procurement of 30,000 metric tonnes of fertilizer from the Federal Government to battle food scarcity in the state, noting that they are desperately in need of pesticide to stem further destruction of their farms by pests.
The state Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Uduak Udo-Inyang, last week said that the state government had invested N3.3 billion for the procurement 30,000 metric tonnes of fertilizer from the Federal Government to battle food scarcity in the state.
Udo-Inyang, while reacting to a letter from farmers in the state which alerted his ministry of invasion of their farms by pests, had said that the state governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, was determined to tackle the prevailing food challenges in the state and had taken delivery of 10,000 metric tonnes, out of the 30,000 paid to the Federal Government for the product.
But the farmers argued that applying fertilizer now that their farmlands were already under threat by ravaging dangerous pests was not proper application of the input and demanded that the state government should urgently save their crops than nourish same for pests to feed on.
Some of the farmers who spoke on condition of anonymity said the state government was only interested in the sales of fertilizer which they said was not necessary as most farmers have stated harvesting.
The source added that, “What we need is pesticide to stop pest from further destroying our crops not fertilizer at this time of farming season when most farmers are harvesting and some are getting ready to harvest.”