Groups launch ‘fertiliser dashboard’ for Nigerian farmers

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The project will assist the private and public sectors with easy access to data on quality fertilisers, good pricing, consumption, and product availability.

The Development Gateway in partnership with the International Fertilizer Development Centre on Wednesday launched the Visualizing Insights on Fertilizer for African Agriculture (VIFAA) dashboard for Nigeria.

The project, sponsored by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, will assist the private and public sector with easy access to data on quality fertilisers, good pricing, consumption, and product availability.

Nigeria flagged off the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI) in December 2016. The project aims to ensure local production of fertiliser and ensure efficient distribution to farmers.

The Nigeria fertiliser industry possesses a blending capacity of 4 million tonnes of NPK fertiliser annually and 2 million tonnes of production for urea.

The industry is believed to have the capacity to employ over 250,000 people through both direct and indirect jobs across the nation.

At the launch, the VIFAA project manager in Nigeria for Development Gateway, Beverley Hatcher-Mbu, said data gathered on the dashboard will be useful to experts in both the private and public sectors.

“We worked closely with the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) that has an office here in Nigeria. So they both collect their own data, including retail price and they also work closely in what we call the fertilizer technical working group to ensure that all key actors agree on the key data points that show up on the dashboard,” she said.

“So it’s not that the public sector and private sector use different data and are trying to figure out what the best part is. Now, it’s clear that Nigeria has moved from being an import to an exporter. So how does that change the decisions that companies make? How does that change the decisions that the public sector makes, we want everybody to have the best, most trustworthy data available to make decisions together? So that’s really for us, the key output of this dashboard,” she added.

The Registrar/CEO of the Nigeria Institute of Soil Science, Victor Chude, said the four-year programme will address the supply, demand and use of fertiliser data in Nigeria.

“During the period of the initiation of these programs, the partners have collaborated with the private sector, government agencies, research institutions and other development partners to address the Key data and data supply gaps to fill in supporting strategic decision making in the Nigerian fertiliser sector,” he noted.

The permanent secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ernest Umakhihe, said significant progress has been made in the last few years to unlock the enormous potentials of the fertiliser industry.

“This has to a greater extent helped the domestication of the blending of NPK Fertiliser in Nigeria. Furthermore, the National Fertilizer Quality (Control) (NFQC) Act, 2019, and the regulations were signed to further strengthen the Industry,”.

“The implementation of the Fertiliser Act and the regulations have commenced with the registration of the fertiliser operators. In addition, we have started developing a system that would capture production, sales, carryover stocks, price collection, lab assessments, upgrades, among others,” he noted.



Source: Premium Times

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