The Fertiliser Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria (FEPSAN) on Sunday called on the Federal Government to ban the importation of Nitrogen Phosphorus Potassium (NPK) fertilisers, because it was costing the nation grave loses.
President of the Association, Mr Thomas Etuh, yesterday said that the nation could save up to N720 billion, 1.2 billion dollars in foreign exchange and thousands of jobs if it banned the importation of NPK fertilisers.
Etuh said that the nation already had the capacity to produce up to four million tons of the product in each farming season, adding that highest ever quantity to have been utilised by Nigerian farmers was 1.5 million tons as the rest were exported.
Etuh added that apart from the production capacity, Nigerian farmers preferred the Nigerian made NPK fertiliser because a lot of research was put into it to make it Nigerian-soil specific.
“The association is working for the government to ban the importation of NPK fertiliser because it makes no sense to import the product when we basically have the capacity to produce up to 4 million tons.
“Right now, farmers can compare what is being produced here in the country and what is being imported but they still go for the Nigerian product because what we are producing today is specific to the soil requirements in the country.
“We have written as an association to Mr. President, and he has graciously set up a committee to look into that. We have made all our submissions so we are waiting for the final decision,” he said.
He argued that there was no need exporting jobs meant for Nigerians since the focus of the present government was to create more jobs.
“Government believes that it is the right thing to create jobs because we are striving to be self-sufficient; those are the question they look at.
“Why do we want to export our jobs? This programme will save foreign exchange for the government up to 200 million dollars.
“We have saved N60 billion in subsidy per season. If you take subsidy cumulatively for the next 4 to 6 years, you will find out that the government is going to save about N720 billion and 1.2 billion dollars in foreign exchange.
“When you calculate 60 billion naira saved in two farming seasons in one year, it gives you N120 billion and when you do that in six years, you save N720 billion,” Etuh said.
Nigeria has two distinctive farming seasons in a year which is the rainy and the dry season.
While the rainy season starts in April and ends in October with generally lower temperature, the dry season starts in November and ends in March with a midday temperature that surpasses 38°c (100°f).
However, these seasons slightly differ from region to another.