The Presidential Fertilizer Initiative of the Buhari Administration has started yielding results, with the production of more than 4,000 metric tonnes of locally-blended fertilizer in the first week of operation.
According to a statement by the spokesman of the acting president, Laolu Akande, the Initiative was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari in December 2016, to achieve the local production of one million metric tonnes of blended Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium (NPK) Fertilizer for the 2017 wet season farming.
He said prior to December 2016, Nigeria’s stock of blended Fertilizer was shipped into the country as fully-finished products, even though Urea and Limestone, which constitute roughly two-thirds of the component of each bag, are available locally.
According to him, the objective of the Presidential Initiative is to procure the 4 constituent raw materials for NPK Fertilizer – locally-sourced Urea, locally-sourced Limestone granules (LSG), Diammonium Phosphate (DAP) imported from Morocco, and Muriate of Potash (MOP) sourced from Europe – and blend these locally to produce NPK Fertilizer at a much reduced cost.
He explained that the finished products will be delivered to Nigeria’s farmers at a starting price of about ₦5,500 per bag, compared to the ₦8,000 – ₦9,000 cost of imported fertilizer.
He listed the objectives of the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative as; Stimulate local production of NPK Fertilizer by resuscitating moribund fertilizer plants, and reviving the local blending Fertilizer industry, Make Fertilizer available to Nigerian farmers at affordable prices and in time for the 2017 wet season farming, Result in projected savings of US$200 million in foreign exchange, and ₦60 billion in budgetary provisions for Fertilizer subsidy.
Others are ; enhance food security as a result of the expected increase in food production, reduce food-induced inflation and stimulation of economic activities across the agriculture value chain, create thousands of direct and indirect jobs,
He further stated that the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative is being executed by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) through a Special Purpose Vehicle that will roll out the one million tonnes of NPK Fertilizer in 5 batches of 200,000 metric tonnes each. Production of the first batch is expected to be completed by the end of March.
“Beyond the broader goal of ensuring food security for the country by providing high-grade fertilizer to enhance harvest in the 2017 farming season, the Buhari Administration is by this initiative reinforcing its commitment to reviving and diversifying the economy, and creating growth, through a focus on agriculture, he added.