By Prince Okafor
Nigeria may be in good position to export fertilizer within the next two years if current gains of the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI) are sustained.
This position was given by the Chairman of Fertilizer Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria (FEPSAN), Mr Thomas Etuh who also stated that the country is currently selling agro input to Benin Republic, Chad, Cameroon and Niger Republic.
In a statement made available to Vanguard, Etuk noted that the development will help restore the country’s position as the food basket of the West African sub region.
He stated: “The export opportunity from fertilizer, will be made possible by the increased local production of fertilizer that has ramped up from a mere 500,000 metric tonnes pre-2015 to two million metric tonnes currently.”
He commended the President, Muhammadu Buhari, for initiating the PFI, which he said, has helped farmers access the critical agricultural input at affordable prices thereby reducing their overheads, boosting yield and encouraging more players to invest in the agriculture value chain.
Etuh further stated: “Before the conceptualization and activation of the PFI, we had a situation where there were 32 fertilizer blending plants in Nigeria that were moribund. Out of this number, only five blending plants were functional and even then, they were producing at 10 percent capacity on the average and that was because of excessive emphases on importation.
This also meant, by its very implication, that we were exporting our jobs even when we cannot provide jobs here in Nigeria. Foreign Exchange that is scarce is spent building other people’s economies.”
On how to measure the results of the scheme, Etuh said the evidence is easily noticeable in the increasing volume of production of staples like rice and maize by farmers in the country, crediting it to the increased appetite for the purchase of fertilizers.