The Agriculture Extension Division (AED) within the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Barbuda Affairs (MAFBA) Fertilizer Distribution is scheduled for the period Monday 22nd August to Wednesday 31st August 2022.
The distribution will be conducted on the compound of the Agricultural Extension Division.
Beneficiary farmers in the South-Central District were the first set of farmers to receive their fertilizers as part of this initiative under the guidance of District Officers, Joel Matthew and Regulatory Officer, Mario Beazer.
Mr. Beazer explained that as the officers in charge of the Southcentral Agricultural district, farmers have been sensitized on the proper management and use of the fertilizers in a bid to boost local agricultural production. He went to add that follow up visits will be conducted to the beneficiary farms to ensure compliance to recommended best management practices.
The Distribution will be done on a district-by-district basis, commencing with the South-central Agricultural District and culminating with Southwest on Friday 26th August, 2022. Provisional days will be arranged for Agricultural Stations, Schools, and other support Institutions.
Due to the limited supply of fertilizers, the Agricultural Extension Division, by way of its Field Officers in the respective Agricultural Districts, were charged with pre-selecting Beneficiary Farmers using a Selection Eligibility Criteria.
A standardized Database Form will be used to capture information on the quantity and type of fertilizer that will be distributed per district.
Four (4) different types of fertilizers will be earmarked for distribution to selected farmers. These are primarily nitrogen and phosphorus based and include Mono-ammonium Phosphate (MAP), Di-ammonium Phosphate (DAP), Triple Super Phosphate (TSP) and Nitrogen Phosphorus Sulphur + Boron (NPSB).
As part of diplomatic arrangements, the Government of Antigua and Barbuda acquired these Shipment of 50kg bags of inorganic fertilizer from the Government of the Kingdom of Morocco; in a bid to boost Agricultural productivity in the twin-island State.
In addition, the Agreement aims at developing the national technical capacity for enhancing farming efficiency while maintaining good environmental stewardship and re-enforcing the extension system in devising soil fertility and fertilization guidelines for major crops.
As much as fertilizers are key ingredients to crop farming, the availability and cost have been major challenges for farmers over the past years. The ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine has further compounded the situation.
Together both countries represent 28% of the world’s total export of fertilizers made from Nitrogen and Phosphorus.
Logistical challenges in shipment resulting from the war has escalated the price of fertilizers on the global market; much to the dismay of farmers.
Given the instabilities as it relates to the increase in input prices, this fertilizer distribution could not have come at a more crucial and opportune time.
The Ministry of Agriculture would like to express sincerest gratitude to the Government of the Kingdom of Morocco for its supports towards the development of the Agricultural sector in Antigua and Barbuda. Notwithstanding the myriad of challenges confronting the sector, Special thanks also to our farmers for their hard work, dedication, and commitment in feeding the nation.