The Federal Government and Russia have signed an agreement for the supply of potash, a raw material for fertiliser production. Mr Uche Orji, the managing director of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), signed on behalf of Nigeria while Mr Dmitry Konyaev, the deputy chairman of URALCHEM, a Russian company, signed on behalf of the Russian government.
The agreement is under the aegis of the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative (PFI), chaired by the Jigawa State governor, Abubakar Badaru.
Speaking afterwards, Badaru said it was a milestone in President Muhammadu Buhari’s effort to support agricultural production. He said the aim was to make fertiliser available and affordable to Nigerian farmers.
“As we recall, President Vladimir Putin invited African presidents, and our president was there. During one of their side meetings, Putin proposed the possibility of Nigeria buying potash from a company in Russia, knowing full well that we always buy potash.
“Remember that we have a similar agreement with Morocco on the supply of phosphate. Today, we witnessed the consummation of that discussion to sign an agreement on potash purchase for Nigeria.
“What we have just witnessed will help in stabilising the price of fertiliser, especially NPK, which we produce locally. You would recall that in the last three or two years, Nigeria has been producing its NPK by itself, buying only phosphate from Morocco and potash from Russia.
“The beauty of this deal is that it is a direct purchase; there’s no commissioned agent. Also, because of the discussion of the two leaders, the price was reduced by some very competitive percentage.
“It is a very good development for our farmers. And we have to thank the president for this initiative, as well as the president of Russia for bringing this up and having his company to supply us at a competitive price,’’ he said.
The Russian ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Alexey Sherbashin, said Nigeria-Russia bilateral relation in economics and trade was developing. He said signing of agreement was strategic as Nigeria’s agriculture needed intensive development. (NAN).