The Federal Government on Tuesday unveiled the National Fertiliser Quality (Control) Act, 2019, with fertiliser fraudsters facing five years in jail.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Nanono, who unveiled the Act in Abuja, said the passage and signing into law of the National Fertiliser Quality (Control) Act was a major breakthrough for farmers in the country.
Nanono warned people involved in all manner of fraudulent practice in the subsector to desist henceforth, saying the law would take its full course upon conviction of any offender to serve as deterrent.
He lamented that among other concerns that warranted the passage and signing into law of the fertiliser bill was its use for locally made explosives by criminals.
According to him, “I feel privileged standing before you today for the public presentation and unveiling of this much desired National Fertiliser Quality (Control) Act for regulation of the manufacture, importation, sales, distribution and quality control of fertilisers.
“As you may be aware, the journey for the establishment of Fertiliser Regulatory System for this country started as far back as 2002.
“It passed through several processes and suffered many defeats but finally actualised in this current administration.
“The aspiration for the establishment of the Regulatory framework followed a fertiliser study that revealed high prevalence of low quality fertilisers in the country,” he said.
He explained that the law was enacted to protect the interest of the entire fertiliser value chain players such as manufacturers, producers, blenders, importers, distributors and farmers.
He said, for the manufacturers, producers, blenders, importers and distributors, the Act would provide enabling environment for fertiliser enterprises to grow, including protecting investments in the sector.
He added that for farmers, they would be protected against access to nutrient-deficient and adulterated fertilisers as well as short-weight bags of fertilisers, to ensure they got value for money.
“This Act seeks to ensure that maximum benefits are derived from each Kilogramme of fertiliser bought and used by the farmers in terms of nutrient composition and level.
“There is also the growing concern about protecting our natural environment from harmful elements in fertilisers such as heavy metals which can be harmful to both soil and the humans”.
The minister assured Nigerians that the Federal Government would ensure fertilisers being produced, distributed and sold to farmers, met set standards in terms of quantity and quality.
The Act among other provisions, stipulates that a person, who manufactures, blends, imports or distributes fertiliser that is deficient in plant nutrient is liable on conviction to at least five years without option of fine.
Other offences that attract same punishment are: manufacture, blending, importation, or distribution of unbranded or misbranded fertiliser as well as import, export or distribution of adulterated fertiliser.
Others are sale of underweight or condemned fertiliser, diversion or conversion of fertiliser or flouting a stop sale order.