The Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), says its investment in promoting local farming is yielding results as production of made-in-Nigeria fertilizer has presently hit 2.22 million metric tonnes.
The Managing Director of NSIA, Mr Uche Orji, in an interview on Monday in Abuja, said NSIA’s investment was to make fertilizer affordable all year round to farmers.
“Prior to Dec. 2016, Nigeria’s stock of blended Fertilizer was shipped into the country as fully finished products, even though Urea and Limestone, which constituted roughly two-thirds of the component of each bag are available locally.
“Knowing this, President Muhammadu Buhari approved a Presidential Fertilizer Initiative for the local production of blended NPK 20:20:10 Fertilizer.
“The objective of the project is to deliver commercially significant quantities of affordable and consistently high-quality fertilizer at the right price and in time to Nigeria’s over 500,000 farmers across the country.
“The target retail price regime at the time was between 50 per cent and 65 per cent of the prevailing market price,’’ he said.
Orji said that after one year of running the programme, NSIA noted that import of finished fertilizer had reduced drastically.
“For the 2017 wet season, it is estimated that about N60 billion from the 2017 budgetary provisions for fertilizer was saved, while another saving of 150 million dollars was conserved from foreign exchange window.
“To date, the programme has contributed to the resuscitation of 14 moribund blending plants, which represents 55 per cent of total installed capacity in Nigeria.
“Also, more than six million bags of 50kg NPK 20:10:10 fertilizer has been produced locally, which have been distributed to farmers.
Orji said that as a result of its investment in fertilizer production, several thousand jobs had been created and the nation had saved a significant amount in foreign exchange and subsidy payments.
He reiterated that the NSIA had about 2.2 billion dollars in assets as at Dec. 31, 2017.
The Presidential Fertiliser Initiative is an initiative of President Muhammadu Buhari borne out of desire to end fertilizer importation and the attendant impact on the country’s foreign exchange reserves.
It was designed to stimulate significant economic activities across the agriculture value chain and catalyze growth by meeting the fertilizer demand of farmers during the wet farming season.
Ahead of the 2017 farming season, Buhari inaugurated a special committee to look into and bridge the gaps in the production and distribution of fertilizer in Nigeria.
The committee comprised of the Governor of Jigawa State as Chairman, while the Managing Director, Nigeria National Petroleum Company and the Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development as members.
Other members include the Chief of Staff to the President, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor and President of the Fertilizer Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria (FEPSAN).
The NSIA was invited to provide technical support, as well as serve as managers of the initiative subsequent to the committee’s inauguration.
NSIA says it has invested more than 286.4 million dollars in the fertilizer blending project in partnership with FEPSAN.