The Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), says its investment in promoting local farming is yielding results as production of made-in-Nigeria fertiliser has risen to 2.22 million metric tonnes.
The Managing Director of NSIA, Mr. Uche Orji, in an interview with a news agency yesterday in Abuja, said NSIA’s investment was to make fertiliser affordable all year round to farmers.
“Prior to December 2016, Nigeria’s stock of blended fertiliser was shipped into the country as fully finished products, even though urea and limestone, which constitute roughly two-thirds of the components of each bag are available locally.
“Knowing this, President Muhammadu Buhari approved a Presidential Fertiliser Initiative (PFI) for the local production of blended NPK 20:20:10 fertiliser.
“The objective of the project is to deliver commercially significant quantities of affordable and consistently high-quality fertiliser at the right price and in time to Nigeria’s over 500,000 farmers across the country. The target retail price regime at the time was between 50 per cent and 65 per cent of the prevailing market price,’’ he said.
Orji said that after one year of running the programme, NSIA noted that import of finished fertiliser had reduced drastically.
“For the 2017 wet season, it is estimated that about N60 billion from the 2017 budgetary provisions for fertiliser was saved, while another saving of $150 million was conserved from the foreign exchange window.
“To date, the programme has contributed to the resuscitation of 14 moribund blending plants, which represents 55 per cent of total installed capacity in Nigeria. Also, more than six million bags of 50kg NPK 20:10:10 fertiliser have been produced locally, which have been distributed to farmers.
“The success of the PFI is evidence enough that Nigeria can sustainably produce fertilisers locally at a reasonable price without subsidy. With the right model, any constraint can be addressed,’’ he said.
Orji said that as a result of its investment in fertiliser production, several thousand jobs had been created and the nation had saved a significant amount in foreign exchange and subsidy payments. He reiterated that NSIA had about $2.2 billion in assets as at December 31, 2017.
The PFI is an initiative of President Muhammadu Buhari, borne out of desire to end fertiliser importation and the attendant impact on the country’s foreign exchange reserves. It was designed to stimulate significant economic activities across the agriculture value chain and catalyse growth by meeting the fertiliser demand of farmers during the wet farming season.
Ahead of the 2017 farming season, Buhari inaugurated a special committee to look into and bridge the gaps in the production and distribution of fertiliser in Nigeria.