The federal government is to revive 12 moribund fertiliser blending plants to bring to 23 the total number of plants that will partake in 2018 Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI), an official says.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who disclosed this at a media briefing in Lagos said 11 moribund plants with a combined capacity of over two million metric tonnes (MT) had been revived.
He said fertiliser production in Nigeria has been a success story with the setting up of the PPI in December 2016 by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said the PFI was set up to deliver commercially significant quantities of affordable and high quality fertiliser at the right time to the Nigerian farmer.
“The PFI has turned out to be a magic wand in fertiliser production.
“Recall that the agricultural sector and the country’s food production were negatively impacted in 2016, as farmers became exposed to high and rising prices for key agric inputs.
“In 2017, PFI delivered 10 million 50kg bags (500,000MT) of NPK 20:10:10 fertilizer at a price of N5,500 in time for the wet season.
“That’s down from the price of N9,000 per 50kg bag in 2016 – a 40 per cent reduction in price.
“In 2018, PFI targets the delivery of 20 million 50kg bags (1 million MT), double the figure for 2017,” he said.
The minister recalled that before PFI, each imported fertiliser bag was subsidised to the tune of N6,000 per bag.
He said in 2017, PFI saved the government N60 billion in would-be subsidies.
“The FOREX savings in 2017 was $150 million, thanks to the substitution of imported inputs of NPK with locally sourced inputs,” he said..
The minister said that limestone and urea were sourced locally while phosphate was imported from Morocco and potash from Europe.
He said President Buhari personally negotiated a long-term bulk purchase agreement of phosphate with the King of Morocco and his team.
Speaking on other benefits of the PFI, the minister said over six million bags of fertiliser had been sold to farmers at N5,500 per bag.
“There is now a higher patronage for the country’s rail network due to movement of raw materials and finished goods.
“Also, the bag-making sector of the economy was boosted, with over 10 million packaging bags produced exclusively for PFI.
“60,000 direct jobs and even higher number of indirect jobs have been created,” he said.
The minister reiterated the commitment of the government to fertiliser and agricultural revolution. (NAN)