FG blames high fertiliser cost on Russia-Ukraine war
•Issues licence to 250 fertilizer firms
•As experts chide government on import of locally available fertilizer raw materials
The Federal Government has blamed the high cost of fertiliser in the country to its inability to import Muriate of Potash (MOP), one of the major raw materials used for blending the farm inputs from Russia due to the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Of the four major raw materials being used in the blending of compound fertilisers (NPKs), urea and limestone are obtained locally, while Di-ammonia Phosphate (DAP) and Muriate of Potash (MOP) are sourced from Morocco and Belarus/Russia respectively.
As a result of the conflicts between Russia and Ukraine, coupled with the restriction caused by Covid-19 pandemic, a huge gap was created, especially that of MOP – which is being sourced from – Belarus/Russia.
A bag of NPK fertiliser has jumped from N5,500 to N28,000. But stakeholders in the industry have chided the federal government for importing raw materials that can be locally sourced in Nigeria.
According to them, Nigeria has a deposit of phosphate rock in Sokoto state and there is a need for the Ministry of Solid Minerals to pay due attention to the local exploration of Mutate of Potash (MOP) and DAP from the area of Sokoto basement complex.
The Executive Director of Al-Yuma Fertiliser and Chemicals, Dr Farouk Hamzat said, “Nigeria is just sitting on the gold mines and not paying much emphasis in the area of research and development. To reduce that overdependence on other foreign countries for the raw materials, there is a need to intensify our efforts towards the exploration of these two major inputs that we import from overseas.”
However, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Ernest Umakhihe, while speaking at the presentation of certificates and sales permits to fertiliser operators, yesterday in Abuja, said to address the high cost of fertiliser, the ministry was working with the relevant agencies to source for the two important raw materials locally through the Solid Mineral Development Fund to guard against future scarcity.
Meanwhile, in line with the Fertilizer Control Act 2019 that stipulates that all fertilizer distribution companies must be duly registered by the Farm Inputs Support Services Department of the ministry, the federal government has provided certificates to about 250 fertilizer companies and agro dealers.
The Permanent Secretary, who was represented by the Director Special Duties in the Ministry, Mrs Fausat Lawal, while congratulating the operators who have fulfilled all the required conditions and duly issued with their certificates of registration or sales permits, said a grace period of two months have been granted for those who have not obtained theirs as failure to do so will have their facilities sealed off with resultant prosecution.
She said, “the non-licensed operators will not be allowed to produce, blend, Import, market or distribute fertilizers in the country. The suppliers are therefore urged to ensure that only licensed agro-dealers are allowed to buy their products.
The Deputy Director, Department of Farm Input Support Service, Ishaq Buba while speaking on the need for the issuance of certificates said it was to check fertilizer adulteration in the country and to ensure fertilizer being sold to farmers are of the right quality and quantity.