FG promises adequate fertiliser for 2017 farming season

The Federal Government says it has made adequate provision for farmers across the country to have enough fertiliser to grow food throughout the year.

In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja, the Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), Mr Uche Orji said a bag of fertiliser now sells for N5,500 instead of N14,000 previously.

He stated: “The price is boldly written on the Fertiliser bag so you can’t be cheated.

“We have the capacity to blend what the nation needs and this year, Fertiliser will not be an excuse for farming in Nigeria.

“Anybody who tries to sell it more than that, there is a whistleblower number and when you call that number, the National Security Adviser will get involved to investigate.”

Orji said that this year would be different from last year because Nigeria now has the capacity to blend and produce fertiliser locally.

He said with the help of the NSIA, 12 out of the 28 existing fertiliser-blending plants scattered across the country have been resuscitated, and that the plan is to refurbish additional six blending plants by 2018.

Orji explained that all the four components of fertiliser – urea, phosphate, potassium and limestone – used to be imported and then blended, but the Presidency said NSIA mandated NSIA to make fertiliser available to farmers on time and at a reasonable price.

“So the only way we can do that is to look at how we can do that locally. Of the materials  needed to make fertiliser, urea is found in Nigeria as well as limestone in Edo state, Sokoto and many parts of the country.

“Those two components make up 65 per cent. Therefore instead of importing the whole thing, we import 35 per cent, ship it to the blending plants, blend it and sell to farmers,” he explained.

The NSIA boss said that Nigeria has an agreement with Morroco to buy phosphate and the potassium is bought from European traders.

He said local production of fertiliser has helped to create thousands of jobs, revive the moribund government companies, and save foreign exchange for the country.

Orji said the government was targeting to produce 12 million bags this year, but transportation logistics remained a problem.

He said the agency was taking advantage of the rail system in places like Kaduna and Bauchi to transport materials to the plants.

Orji said that the Nigeria Security Adviser was also a part of the programme to offer security of the materials as they were highly sensitive.

Fertiliser is well known as a component for making some kind of bombs.

The revival of blending of fertiliser was born out of the need to rejuvenate Nigeria’s agricultural outputs by making fertiliser accessible and affordable to farmers in the country.

So far, over 1.5 million tonnes of fertiliser have been produced locally.

This is expected to save Nigeria N60 billion in the 2017 budgetary provision for fertiliser subsidy expenditure and US$200 million in foreign reserve savings in 2017. (NAN)


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