Nigeria, Morocco deal to boost fertiliser production by 1.3m tonnes
The Group Managing Director (GMD), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Kacalla Baru, disclosed this while receiving the National Coordinator of the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD-Nigeria), Princess Gloria Akobundu, last week in Abuja.
Access to fertiliser, which is added to soil to supply one or more plant nutrients essential to the growth of plants, has remained a big issue for farmers, especially for the rural farmers who are unable to buy the product at exorbitant cost.
Baru, who noted that the MoU between the two countries was for the supply of phosphate to rejuvenate agriculture by making fertiliser available and affordable, confirmed that the deal has started yielding positive results in the country.
He said: “The Moroccans have already supplied a cargo of phosphate which has been delivered to various blending plants across the country. Already, eleven blending plants have come into production because of the supply.
“I am happy to inform you that this development has translated to the creation of about 50, 000 jobs and led to the production of about 1.3 million tonnes of fertiliser in the country,” Baru stated.
Following the arrival of the first consignment, the Moroccans have also given Nigeria a generous credit term of 90 days, and they are planning to bring in more cargoes that will fit the various blending plants in the country, Baru added.
Aside being a huge boost to the Nigerian agricultural sector and the economy, he said the partnership is expected to boost bilateral relationship between the two countries, in line with NEPAD’s objective of championing regional economic partnerships and integration.
The GMD observed that NEPAD’s visit coincided with NNPC’s journey towards becoming commercially-viable world-class oil and gas company hinged on the principle of transparency, openness and accountability.
He further noted that the Corporation under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has taken some far-reaching measures to address some of its challenges, created largely due to low commodity prices.
Baru also assured the delegation that the Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline Project (TSGP), on which NNPC has had engagement with NEPAD in the past, is still on track and the Corporation would ensure continued collaboration towards the success of the project.
Earlier in her remarks, Akobundu explained her team was in the NNPC to seek for areas of collaboration with the Corporation especially in their quest to promote regional integration on the continent.
“As NEPAD, we are mandated to identify and work with strategic partners to facilitate, monitor and promote the implementation of developmental projects across the continent,” she said.
Also on NEPAD’s entourage was the Director General of the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Aminu Dikko, who said the TSGP is a very crucial project that will further boost regional integration of Africans.
Established by the African Union (AU) in 2001, NEPAD is charged with championing poverty eradication,, sustainable growth and development, mutual integration of Africa in the globalisation process as well as women empowerment.