President Muhammadu Buhari attributed Nigeria’s growing importance as Africa’s fertilizer powerhouse to the implementation of the right policies by the current administration.
The President made this known during the reception of the Executive Committee of the Fertilizer Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria (FEPSAN) at the State House, Abuja on Tuesday.
”With our more than 70 blending plants in operation, Nigeria is poised to become Africa’s fertilizer powerhouse. And with our mega urea production facilities, Nigeria is definitely a global player in urea,” he said.
The President said that this remarkable achievement in a very short time has ensured a steady flow of investment into the sector from the private sector; bring prosperity to millions of Nigerians and good returns to investors.
He said he was delighted that the era of a persistent shortage of fertilizers in the country is now a thing of the past, commending FEPSAN for its partnership with the government in the very patriotic retrograde integration project to improve the chain. of agricultural value.
The President took the opportunity to recall the measures taken by his administration to limit excessive dependence on imports, ensure the availability of the commodity and achieve self-sufficiency in the country’s food production.
”When this administration came to power in 2015, we focused on three key areas; Security, economy and fight against corruption.
”For every nation to experience peace and prosperity, its economy must be inclusive.
”For Nigeria, a predominantly agrarian nation, having an inclusive economy meant that we had to prioritize improving our agricultural value chain.
”We quickly identified the persistent shortage of fertilizers as a major reason for the low yields recorded on our farms.
”This historical shortage of fertilizer was due to our over-reliance on imports and ineffective government involvement in the distribution of this essential commodity to farmers.
”As a government, it was very clear to us that these practices had to change. Nigeria is naturally endowed with most of the raw materials needed for fertilizer production.
”Nigeria has all the skills and manpower needed to convert these raw materials into fertilizer. With the right conducive environment, Nigeria has entrepreneurs who are ready to invest in the sector.
”So we went to work. And as the president of FEPSAN mentioned in his speech, the rest is now history,” he said.
According to him, a key indicator of the success of the current government’s policies is the fact that the country is not running out of fertilizer during the global COVID shutdowns.
”Today I am happy to hear your assurances that we will not have a shortage in Nigeria due to the conflicts in Eastern Europe which have impacted the global fertilizer trade.
“All of these trends indicate that our backward integration policy was the right policy,” he added.
While appreciating those who have invested and continue to invest in the sector, the President said:
“Through these investments, you are doubly blessed as you realize profits and bring prosperity to millions of Nigerians working in the agricultural value chain.”
In his address, CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele said that fertilizer remains a key element in achieving food security and in achieving this the apex bank has continued to place great emphasis on its availability and its accessibility by farmers to improve yield, productivity and ultimately, exit.
He highlighted some CBN interventions including the Real Sector Support Facility, the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme, the National Food Security Program and the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI).
Emefiele disclosed that a total of over N114.09 billion has been disbursed to support the fertilizer industry over the past five years.
He explained that the interventions were long-term loans at preferential interest rates to support domestic blending and distribution across the country.
According to Emefiele, the CBN is working with industry majors, such as Dangote and Indorama, to ensure they sell urea at discounted prices to blending plants to ensure fertilizer prices are moderate. on the market.
“The Bank will also work with blending plants to ensure blended fertilizers are made available to end user farmers at affordable prices,” he said.
Under the CBN Anchor Borrowers scheme, the CBN Governor said the bank had disbursed N941.26 billion to 4.2 million smallholder farmers growing 21 crops on 5.4 million hectares of land Across the country.
He added that for the 2021 rainy season scheme, the CBN disbursed N193.59 billion to 923,699 farmers growing seven commodities on 1.16 million hectares of land.
According to Emefiele, the CBN currently has a stock of fertilizer from the last planting season under the anchor borrower program to the tune of 1.95 million bags and has committed an additional 2.6 million bags to use during the 2022 program.
Also speaking, FEPSAN Chairman Thomas Etuh thanked President Buhari for inaugurating two facilities by members of the association – Barbedos Blending Plant in Kaduna and Dangote Urea Plant in Lagos – in two months.
”Mr. President, the success of FEPSAN is not only evident by the number of factories we command, but also by the many pyramids of rice, corn and other crops that you have inspected across the country. .
”Mr. President, before you established the PFI Initiative in 2016, Nigeria’s fertilizer production base was almost nil. We had less than seven companies producing at 10% of their installed capacity. Nigeria’s urea production has been reported at less than 300,000 tons,” he said.
While citing recent data from a fertilizer task force that reviews and validates 12-year consumption data, the FEPSA chairman said Nigeria recorded its highest fertilizer consumption at 1.8 million tons per year in 2021.
According to him, the association is ready, willing and available to ensure the availability of fertilizers in all parts of the country for the 2022 rainy season.