The Fertilizer Producers Association of Nigeria (FEPSAN) has assured of the capability of blending plants in Nigeria to meet all the fertilizer need of farmers in the country.
FEPSAN President, Thomas Etuh, made this known in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja.
Mr Etuh said members of his association has invested over $9 billion in boosting local capacity in fertilizer blending in line with the calls contained in the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI) policy thrust of the present administration.
The continued investments in the local blending of fertilizer, he continued, has not only ensured the availability of the critical farming input all round the year and at affordable prices in all parts of the country but has also saved the country billions of Naira in foreign exchange.
“Rising from just 11 blending plants that were in various stages of abandonment in 2015, Nigeria now has 22 approved fertilizer plants, 18 of which are producing at installed capacity,” he said in the statement, emphasizing that farmers in the country have no reason to worry about scarcity and high cost of the commodity any more.
Mr Etuh observed that following increased production and affordable pricing, fertilizer consumption has increased. Quoting data from a group called the Fertiliser Technical Working Group that comprises the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the International Fertilizer Development Centre (IFDC) he suggested that the highest fertiliser-consumption figure of 1.56 million tonnes, recorded against Nigeria, occurred under the PFI regime.
This, he said, has ensured that NPK fertilisers are now available to farmers at affordable rates of about N5, 500 per bag.
“We now have soil-specific and crop-specific blends of fertilizer in Nigeria and this has not just facilitated higher yields for farmers but also contributed to increased stability of the soil and maintenance of the pH balance necessary for the long term health of the soil,” he stated. He added that farmers in the cashew, cotton, ginger, maize and sorghum value chains are enjoying this unique innovation.
Investments and achievements recorded under the PFI programme, he stated, would not have been possible without “The Green Alternative” roadmap of President Muhammadu Buhari programme for the development of the Agric sector.
“Mr President was so serious with this roadmap that he took it upon himself to lead the Federal Government team to sign a bilateral agreement with the Government of Morocco for the supply of phosphate for the revitalisation of local blending plants,” he said.
The FEPSAN chief called on the federal government to sustain the ban on the importation of fertiliser, noting that the result of the ban has started manifesting in the form of increased inflow of investments into the agriculture sector, massive job creation and conservation of foreign exchange. According to him, the fertiliser sector created over 100, 000 jobs in 2018 alone.
He added that the ban on fertiliser importation swelled the size of investment in urea production to over $9 billion, with Dangote Fertiliser and Indorama Eleme Petrochemicals Limited in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, exporting about 800, 000 metric tons of urea.