FG approves six blending plants for 2018 PFI production programme
Federal Government has given approval to six additional blending plants for the production of fertilizer in Nigeria under the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative. While three of the plants have received full approval and are already receiving raw material for blending of the multi-nutrient NPK fertilizers, the other three are awaiting final approval, having already been given provisional approvals by the office of the National Security Adviser.
It was gathered that when the six new plants all come on stream, it would bring the total number of fertilizer blending plants operating in the country to 17, up from five as at 2016. The three blending plants will also add a total of 1.8 million metric tonnes in terms of capacity to the country’s growing fertilizer blending industry.
The three approved plants and on stream include: Waccot Fertilizer and Chemicals Ltd Auchi, Edo State; Sora Ltd Makurdi, Benue State; Citizen Fertilizer and Chemicals Ltd Kano. The plants given provisional approval are Green Technologies, Abak, Akwa Ibom State while two others whose names were not provided are in Zamfara and Gombe States respectively.
Speaking to The Guardian on the sidelines of a meeting held recently by members of the Fertilizer Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria (FEPSAN) in Abuja, Executive Secretary of FEPSAN, Alhaji Rabiu Kwa, said the addition of three new blending plants is indicative of the preparedness of the Federal Government to sustain the gains already made in the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI), which, according to him, has lifted the country from an import-dependent nation to one that produces high quality fertilizer.
Kwa said FEPSAN members are fully in league with the Federal Government’s drive to provide the inputs needed by farmers to enhance agricultural productivity, expressing the optimism that the sincerity of purpose with which the government had implemented the PFI programme, the country was already on the right path towards food security.
“You can see the impact we made on the productivity of farmers last year. It is this impact that has been attracting new investors in fertilizer blending and we welcome more investors because the appetite for fertilizer will continue to increase as more and more people embrace farming as their businesses while existing farmers seek to expand their operations,” he stated.
He expressed hope that with new the blending plants joining the PFI programme, FEPSAN will very likely double the volume of fertilizer produced, a development he expects will transform to savings for the government as well as provide export opportunities, especially to other West and East African countries.
The Managing Director of Bejafta Group Limited, operators of a blending plant in Jos, Plateau State, Mr. Jacob Gimba said the approval of new participants will help the industry growth further, bring in new ideas that will help the industry and also place the country in pole position to support farmers in boosting crop yield.
Gimba, whose company partnered with the government of Plateau State to revive the moribund state-owned fertilizer production company under the PFI programme, noted that the collaboration rather than competition brought about by the PFI programme has immensely benefitted the industry.
He called on Nigerian businessmen to consider embracing such sectoral cooperation to enable them benefit from economy of scale made possible by shared values.
“I must tell you that here has never been an initiative in and outside the agricultural sector that contributed to poverty eradication and salvaged farmers and people at grassroots level like this PFI programme. It did not look like it was going to be such a huge success when we started by today, the story is different and that is why we are seeing a lot more people and even state governments indicating interest to join the scheme,” he said.