Nigeria’s agreement with Morocco on fertilizer is expected to yield one million tonnes through local production in 2017.

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Presidential spokesman Garba Shehu, who stated this in a statement, noted that the Fertilizer Producers and Suppliers of Nigeria (FEPSAN) and a Moroccan company, OCP, would work towards realising the goal.

He expressed the hope that this would be a short term solution that would reduce the price of fertilizer from N8,000 to as low as N5,000.

In the statement

“In a Memorandum of Understanding also signed during the visit of King Mohammed VI of Morocco to Nigeria by Mr Thomas Etuh, President of FEPSAN and Dr Mostafa Terrab, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the OCP Group, FEPSAN and OCP, will come together to promote innovation in an effort to contribute towards productivity-led agricultural growth and improve farmer livelihood,” he added.

OCP, a majority state-owned company of Morocco is a world leader in phosphate and its derivatives, committed to the development of agriculture in Africa.

To improve farmers’ income

Shehu said the agreement also seeks to promote the use of agricultural inputs including access to adequate fertilizers. According to him, it would be a major lever for improving agricultural productivity and farmers’ income.

The presidential aide also recalled that the Federal Government had set up the National Fertilizer Technical Committee.

The committee is under the auspices of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture. And It is aimed at putting the country on the path of sustainable production of quality fertilizer for both local consumption and export, he said.

Shehu further said President Buhari was aware that the Nigerian fertilizer industry possesses a blending capacity of four million tonnes of NPK annually.

He then said the two million tonnes of production capacity for Urea can create over 250,000 jobs directly and indirectly across the country.

“But with less than 10 per cent of these production capacities currently being utilized, the Federal Government put in place the atmosphere for getting this Memorandum of Understanding in place.

Areas of collaboration

“The specific areas of collaboration include: securing a supply of quality fertilizers by bringing in raw materials required for the production of the item in line with the crops and soils adaptable to Nigeria, for which the information will be supplied by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.

“Strengthening blending capabilities by leveraging on technical know-how and engineering capabilities; Stimulating product innovation and development through the deployment of the Moroccan expertise in producing scientifically recommended formulae adaptable to the needs of the Nigerian soil.

He identified inadequate supply of fertilizer as a major hindrance to farmers in their quest to embark on small, medium and large scale agricultural revolution, saying that “this is an issue that the present administration is committed to making a thing of the past.”

The OCP Group also signed similar agreement on fertilizer production with the Dangote Group.

Dangote Group is one of Africa’s most diversified conglomerates and the leading cement producer founded by Africa’s richest person, Aliko Dangote.