Farmers in Adamawa have commended the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, for its intervention to ease the challenges they face in getting fuel for their irrigation and dry season farming.
National Treasurer, Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria, RIFAN, Sadiq Daware, conveyed the farmers’ commendation on Wednesday in an interview in Abuja.
He said that the NNPC, through the Department of Petroleum Resources, DPR, had started supplying petrol to rice farmers in the state at the approved pump price of N145 per litre, as against the black market price of N240 per litre.
Mr Daware said that RIFAN applied to the DPR for direct supply of petrol to farmers in the state for irrigation and farming, which was granted.
“The DPR has approved the supply of 3,000 litres of petrol every week to the farmers at the market price of N145 per litre and attached them to a filling station for dispensing.
“Rice farmers are so grateful for the gesture and promised to use the privilege to improve farming activities in the state,’’ he said.
Mr Daware said that the move had become imperative because electricity and petrol supplies in Adamawa had worsened lately, thereby affecting farming activities in the state.
“On the average, a farmer use 10 to 15 litres of petrol daily per hectare for irrigation and a litre of petrol goes for N240 per litre in the black market. How then can the farmers break even?
“This has become a cog in the will of progress during our wet session farming, thereby affecting our productivity, cost of living and loan repayment,’’ he said.
Mr Daware said that as part of efforts to guard against the abuse of the exercise, RIFAN inaugurated a five-man committee to oversee the sales of the petrol and ensure its adequate utilisation.
He warned that anybody involved in sharp practices in the sales would be apprehended and prosecuted.
One of the beneficiaries, Aminu Dadinkowa, said that scarcity of petrol for dry season farming often affected production and could provoke food scarcity and price increases.
“If there is no fuel to power irrigation machines, it would be extremely difficult for the farmers to engage in dry season farming.
“The perennial fuel scarcity in Adamawa State has created some problems in the farming system and it has particularly affected the productivity of the farmers,’’ he said.
Another farmer, Atahiru Mubi, commended RIFAN for its collaboration with NNPC, describing it as good innovation.
He said that the collaboration would reduce production costs of farmers and encourage them to pay back their loans and make profits.
“Selling fuel at the pump price of N145 per litre, as against the black market price of N 240 per litre, is enchanting and a dream come true,’’ he added.
Mr Mubi said that the collaboration would cushion the effect of the current fuel scarcity and increase production.
He expressed his gratitude to RIFAN for putting in place a mechanism to control the sale of petrol to the farmers and hoped that the arrangement would not be abused.