The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) has advised farmers in the country to support organic fertilizer usage with the inorganic variety in order to boost food production.

The Director, Farm Input Support Services in the ministry, Mr Ohiare Jatto, was quoted as giving the advice today during a chat with News Agency of Nigeria’s correspondent in Abuja.

Jatto, who noted that farmers preferred to use the inorganic fertilizer in their farming operations, explained that the use of organic fertiliser was being recommended to them given its protective benefits to the soil.

According to him, the department is currently embarking on nationwide sensitization of farmers on the need for them to use both varieties for effective land management and fertility.

He explained: “We have been trying to see how we can go into complementary use of both varieties. Organic fertilizer is good for our soil; it protects our soil more than the inorganic fertilizer but farmers are more used to the inorganic fertilizer like NPK, Urea.

“Knowing the importance of organic fertilizers, we have a division that deals with the sensitisation of farmers either for the whole use or complementary use of organic fertilizer.

“We work with some research institutes including the Institute for Agricultural Research (IAR) so that whoever wants to come in with new organic fertiliser, we first of all subject it for field trials and laboratory analysis.

`This is to make sure that whatever the producer claims is in the formulation is what you find there and when that happens, we register the product as known by the government and can be used by the farmers”, Jatto added.

Speaking on other issues affecting land management in the country, the agriculture expert said that the government was awaiting the passage of the Fertiliser Quality Bill which, he pointed out, will help in addressing the menace of fertiliser adulteration and input supply inadequacies in the country

The Director explained that by its provisions, the bill seeks to protect fertiliser manufacturers, distributors and farmers, adding that “as soon as the bill is passed, the department will be more empowered to carry out the function of ensuring good quality fertiliser to farmers.”

He also hinted that government was already committing efforts to reviving the Growth Enhancement Support (GES) scheme.

Jatto clarified: “We are just trying to streamline all the activities involved in GES so that at the end of the day, we will get the desired value for money and farmers will get the desired benefit of the programme. We are still working on it to make sure we have a programme devoid of fraud.’’