The International Fertilizer Development Centre (IFDC) has predicted an exponential increase in fertilizer consumption in 2018 by Nigerian farmers as a result of the remarkable improvements in the local blending of the agricultural input under the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative of the Federal Government.
According to a report recently released by the IFDC in collaboration with the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and other international agencies, fertilizer uptake by Nigerian farmers increased by 63 percent in 2017, rising from 959,364 metric tonnes in 2016 to 1,564,816 metric tonnes in 2017.
In contrast, Ghana, Nigeria’s English-speaking West African neighbour recorded an 82 percent increase in fertilizer consumption, although, unlike Nigeria that has totally eliminated subsidy from the system, Ghana’s increased statistics was driven by a spike in government subsidy programmes, the report stated.
The report, which also noted the increases in the exportation of Urea by Nigeria said exports in this area increased from 329,630 metric tonnes in 2016 to 659,603mt in 2017, with over 50 percent of the exports going to Brazil.
The document also highlighted some of the achievements being recorded in agriculture through the PFI programme and hinged the fertilizer growth enablers on the revival of blending plants with the active support of the Central Bank of Nigeria and other agencies of the Nigerian government.
It also quoted a member of the Fertilizer Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria, Mr Gideon Negedu as saying the industry in Nigeria targets to produce more than one million metric tonnes of blended NPK fertilizer in 2018, adding that with increases in crop yield in mind, players have agreed to the introduction of more critical micro nutrients in fertilizer blending for the 2018 PFI programme.
The Presidential Fertilizer Initiative is a programme of the Federal Government of Nigeria designed to ensure an increase in the local manufacturing of fertilizer through the revival of moribund blending plants and possible establishment of new ones in Nigeria.
Since government began its implementation in 2017 in partnership with the Fertilizer Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria fertilizer blends have become available and affordable all year round, with prices at N5,500, down from N11,000 and above in previous years.
The Nigerian government is targeting to explore the programme to achieve the twin goal of improving food production and generating employment.