The Managing Director, OCP Africa Fertilisers Nigeria Ltd, Mohamed Hettiti, says Nigeria continues to spend about $500m annually on the importation of palm oil while consumption is rising at about 2.9 per cent.
He made this disclosure at the agreement signing ceremony between OCP Africa Fertilizers Nigeria Limited (OPC Africa), Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), National Institute for Horticultural Research (NIHORT) and National Institute for Oil Palm Research (NIFOR), recently, in Abuja, saying, the demand for Nigeria’s palm oil is now on the increase both locally and internationally.
He added that they would continue to work together with local partners to develop specialty fertilizers for value chain crops across Nigeria.
According to him, it is economically imperative for Nigeria to produce more palm oil and stem the outflow of forex. It should also be noted that Nigeria’s tomato value chain has once again suffered a setback and the supply is way lesser than the demand for tomato which is a staple food in most of Nigerian soups and stews due to inadequate production of the crop by farmers.
He however thanked the Federal Government for giving OCP Nigeria the chance to contribute to the growth of agriculture in Nigeria. “OCP Nigeria is acting to bring specific response to Nigerian agriculture challenges and provide impactful and sustainable solutions to Nigeria’s food systems; our approach is science-driven, sustainable and partnership-driven.”
He added that OCP Nigeria aims to equip Nigerian farmers with the knowledge and capacity to practise sustainable plant nutrition and reduce nutrient loss by leveraging on research and development.
He, however, reiterated the commitment of OCP Africa Fertilizers Nigeria to the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI) and its continued support to the Federal Government of Nigeria in Its unwavering desire to develop agriculture as the ‘new black gold’ of Nigeria. OCP is building a socially, commercially and ecologically sustainable system to improve agriculture across Nigeria.
On his part, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, pledged the current administration’s commitment towards the growing of the agricultural sector in the country.
Represented by Bashir Abbakassim of the Farm Inputs Supports Services Department, the minister said one of the ways is by producing input which is fertilizer.
Also speaking, the Executive Director Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Prof Veronica Obatolu, said this agreement is not only a significant milestone in the three national research institutions ongoing collaboration but also a contribution to the country research alignment and the ambitious goal of meeting some of the SDGs that have to do with agricultural value chain and improved nutrition and livelihood of Nigerians.
She said based on the pedigree of the three institutions, the scientific outcomes from these projects will provide the added knowledge, technical know-how and capabilities to better conserve and manage soil resources leading to improvement in the national GDP from agriculture.
Also speaking, the Executive Director/CEO National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT), Dr Abayomi Olaniyan stated that the agreement with OCP Africa will help improve and add value to the tomato and oil palm production in the country that has risen to about three million tonnes of tomato that is required in the country.