Encourage use of more fertiliser, Fed Govt urged

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Nigeria will boost its agriculture productivity if the government encourages the use of more fertiliser, the Managing Director, OCP Africa Fertilisers Nigeria Limited, Mr. Mohamed Hettiti has said.

He urged the government to invest more in agriculture to boost growth and development.

Addressing a Food and Agriculture Writers Association of Nigeria (FAWON) forum in Lagos, Hettiti said the fertiliser industry could help in tackling food insecurity.

He observed, however, that fertiliser use in Nigeria was still below 10kg per hectare, compared to 200kg per hectare in the United States.

Hettiti noted that there would be abundant food, if more farmers applied fertiliser. The challenge, according to him, is to improve fertiliser use, and the solution lies in applying ‘more knowledge per hectare’.

He said the company was creating opportunities for a new generation of sustainable fertiliser products tailored towards increasing agricultural productivity.

He said the company was preparing fertiliser products targeted at tspecific crops. The industry, Hettiti, observed was would be challenged by the demand for better fertiliser.

According to him, agriculture investment is a tool for economic growth, job creation and sustainable livelihoods.

He said the company introduced Agribooster, an initiative aimed at supporting smallholder farmers, to gain get access to good quality input and financial services, enhance market linkages, and help them benefit from training on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP).

He stated that the initiative works across the supply chain to connect farmers with quality input, financing and insurance, aside providing  training on proper input use that would increase crop yields and farmers’ income.

Under the Agribooster programme, Hettiti said about 70,000 farmers were reached across the country and that the target was 100,00 farmers.

This year, he said the company invested about $1 million on the programme, adding that the same amount would be spent next year.

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