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2017 Farming: Fertiliser will be adequate – FG

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2017 Farming: Fertiliser will be adequate – FG
Fertiliser used by farmers

By Racheal Ishaya

The Federal Government, says it has made adequate provision for farmers across the country to have enough Fertiliser to grow food throughout the year.

The Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), Mr Uche Orji made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja.

“Last year Fertiliser was sold as high as N14,000 a bag.

“And now we are selling it for N5,500, that is 30 per cent below what the market was. The price is boldly written on the Fertiliser bag so you can’t be cheated.

“We have the capacity to blend what the nation needs and this year, Fertiliser will not be an excuse for farming in Nigeria.

“Anybody who tries to sell it more than that, there is a whistleblower number and when you call that number, the National Security Advicer will get involved to investigate,” he said.

Orji said that this year would be different from last year, because Nigeria now has the capacity to blend and produce Fertiliser locally.

He said with the help of the NSIA, 12 out of the 28 existing Fertiliser blending plants scattered across the country have been resuscitated.

He said the plan is to refurbish additional 6 blending plants by 2018.

“Fertiliser has four components. There is Urea, phosphate, potassium and limestone. You mix it together and that gives you your Fertiliser.

“We used to import the whole thing completely blended. And there is a lot of physical labour involved in making Fertiliser.

“So what we did was to say we have 28 blending plant that were ideal. So the presidency said we should have a look and see how we can make Fertiliser available to farmers on time and at a reasonable price.

“So the only way we can do that is to look at how we can do that locally. Of the materials  needed to make Fertiliser, Urea is found in Nigeria as well as Limestones in Edo state, Sokoto and many parts of the country.

“Those two components make up 65 per cent so instead of importing the whole thing, we import 35 per cent, ship it to the blending plants, blend it and sell to farmers,” he said.

The NSIA boss said that Nigeria has an agreement with Morroco to buy Phosphate  and the potassium is bought from European traders.

He said local production of Fertiliser has helped to create thousands of jobs, revive the moribund government companies, and save foreign exchange for the country.

Orji said the government was targeting to produce 12 million bags this year.
He said however that transportation logistics remained a problem.

He said they were taking advantage of the rail system where it works, in places like Kaduna and Bauchi to transport materials to the plants.

Orji said that the Nigeria Security Advicer was also a part of the programme to offer security of the materials as they were highly sensitive.

Fertiliser is well known as a component for making some kind of bombs.

The revival of blending of fertilizer was born out of the need to rejuvenate Nigeria’s agricultural outputs by making fertilizer accessible and affordable to farmers in the country.

So far, over 1.5 million tonnes of fertilizer have been produced locally.

This is expected to save Nigeria N60 billion in savings in the 2017 budgetary provision for fertilizer subsidy expenditure and 200 million dollars in foreign reserve savings in 2017.

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