The Nigerian Government has signed a bilateral agreement with Moroccan government to combine expertise towards boosting local production of fertilizer for next farming season.
The agreement which was signed on behalf of both countries
through the Fertilizer Producers and Suppliers of Nigeria (FEPSAN) and the Moroccan Office Cherifien de Phosphate (OCP) is aimed at achieving one million ton of fertilizer.
According to a statement issued by President Muhammadu Buhari’s Senior Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, the efforts by the two bodies would be a short term solution to the present shortage of fertilizer production.
It was also aimed that this agreement would force price of the commodity from current price of N8,000 to N5,000 maximum.
The stated revealed that the Memorandum of Understanding signed during the visit of King Mohammed VI of Morocco to Nigeria by President of the FEPSAN, Mr. Thomas Etuh, and a Moroccan counterpart, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, OCP Group, Dr. Mostafa Terrab, both groups would come together to promote innovation in an effort to contribute towards productivity-led agricultural growth and improve farmer livelihood.
It was learnt that the OCP, a majority state-owned company of Morocco, is a world leader in phosphate and its derivatives, committed to the development of agriculture in Africa.
The statement said after the agreement was reached between the two groups yesterday at statehouse, it was stated that the collaboration also seeks to promote the use of agricultural inputs including access to adequate fertilizers as a major lever for improving agricultural productivity and farmers’ income.
The presidency disclosed that government set up the National Fertilizer Technical Committee under the auspices of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to put the country on the path of sustainable production of quality fertilizer for both local consumption and export.
Before signing of the pact, the presidency is aware of Nigerian fertilizer industry possession of a blending capacity of 4 million tons of NPK annually and 2 million tons of production capacity for Urea with ability to employ over 250,000 people in both direct and indirect jobs across the country.
However, with less than 10 percent of the production capacities currently being utilized, the statement said, the federal government put in place measures to address the gap.
The specific areas of collaboration in the MoU will include: securing a supply of quality fertilizers by bringing in raw materials required for the production of the item in line with the crops and soils adaptable to Nigeria, for which the information will be supplied by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture ; Strengthening blending capabilities by leveraging on technical know-how and engineering capabilities; Stimulating product innovation and development through the deployment of the Moroccan expertise in producing scientifically recommended formulae adaptable to the needs of the Nigerian soil.
The statement said, “Other areas include: strengthening capacity to ensure a timely supply of quality fertilizers in adequate quantities and in a cost –effective manner to rural areas as well as an efficient supply chain and improvement of logistics management, including warehousing and transportation services; and strengthening the agricultural extension services system.
“Availability of fertilizer has been a major hindrance to farmers in their quest to embark on small, medium and large scale agricultural revolution, an issue that the present administration is committed to making a thing of the past.
President Muhammadu Buhari has repeatedly stated the determination of his administration towards ensuring that food importation in Nigeria ceases by the year 2019.”
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