FG set to supply 20m bags of fertilizer before June

THE Presidential Commercial on Fertilizer said it has concluded arrangement to produce one million metric tons of fertilizers, amounting to 20 million bags to farmers.

This is just as the Fertilizer Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria (FEPSAN) said that the project has in the last six months saved Nigeria N260 billion hitherto spent on subsidy and foreign exchange to import the product.

The visit to the three fertiliser blending plants in Kaduna at the weekend by the Presidential Committee was led by its Chairman and Governor of Jigawa state, Alhaji Abubakar Badaru and Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, Malam Abba Kyari, they were later joined by the minister of education, Malam Adamu Adamu and that of state for aviation, Sen Hadi Sirika

Speaking with newsmen shortly after the tour of Fertilizer and Chemicals Company, Abakpa and Federal Superphosphate Fertiliser Company Ltd Kakuri, the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative, said that the era of hoarding fertilizers is gone, as people who engage in such act would be losers, because 11 fertilizer blending companies were producing across the country at a rate that the market will be saturated with the products.

According to Governor Badaru, “The project is working very well and the farmers are happy, they are getting fertilizers at a very good price and very available too. Nobody believed we will get to this stage when we started, but you have seen the development so far, how fertilizer has started becoming available everywhere. And we intend to continue because there is no subsidy element, because the business men, the private sector are involved in this, it is well sustainable and it will continue.

“From the plant, the fertilizer is being sold to the agro dealers at the rate of N5, 000 per bag, and after deducting transport, they shouldn’t sell more than, N5, 500. There are telephone numbers on each bag for whistle blowers to raise alarm if any agro dealer sells the product to them more than N5, 500. Such dealer will be prosecuted. This project is going to distribute one million metric tons of fertilizers, which amount to 20 million bags. This is a great improvement, because last year, all the fertilizers consumed in Nigeria was 300,000 metric tons. So, this year we are producing 700,000 tons over what was consumed last year.”

Speaking on the fertilizer project, Managing Director, Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), one of the collaborative agents Mr Uche Orji said, 1.3 million bags of fertilizers have already been sold across the country, while another 1.6 million bags have been released.

According to him, “If you put that in context, in two and half months, we have sold more than 60% of the entire programme of 2016. We have materials on ground to deliver more than 8 million bags. And next week, more materials will come for another four million bags. This programme targets 20 million bags for this year, it has never been done in this country. So, there will be enough fertilizer for everyone. So, anyone hoarding is just wasting his time because more is coming.

“This is a classic case of import substitution. In the past, we would have imported this fertilizers and no job would have been created locally. Out of the over one million so far sold to the dealers, not one naira subsidy has been used. There is no need for subsidy. Three blending plants are working in Kaduna, one is working in Funtua, one in Ebonyi, one in Lagos, Minna is working, we are having Plateau, Benue and before the end of this programme, we will have many more blending plants across the country,” he said.

FEPSAN President, Mr Thomas Etuh in his own remarks said, the Fertilizer Initiative is a tripartite agreement between Fertilizer Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria (FEPSAN), OCP in Morocco and Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority.

He said the programme has in the last six months saved Nigeria N60 billion from subsidy and N200 billion from foreign exchange, adding that, “So far, over 4,500 trucking has taken place, imagine the drivers, the motor boys, those loading and off-loading, so direct and indirect jobs have been created and that is the joy of the project and at the end we expect a bumper harvest from the farms. We import phosphate from Morocco and we have the potash coming also from Europe. These are the two products we don’t produce in Nigeria. But the other two raw materials are produced in Nigeria that is urea, which 36% and limestone which is 27%. So, 63% of the raw materials are produced locally”.

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