The Fertilizer Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria (FEPSAN) has commended the Federal Government of Nigeria for the total ban it recently placed on the importation of all blends of the nitrogen Phosphorous and Potassium (NPK) fertilizers.
FEPSAN believes the move will go a long way in stemming the importation of poor quality NPK fertilizer blends, boost local capacity and protect the soil from toxic fertilizers imported by unscrupulous business people.
In a statement signed by FEPSAN President, Mr. Thomas Etuh, the Association said the only way the Federal Government can demonstrate its commitment to improve agricultural production and boost local capacity is by taking such strong purposive steps that will position the entire agricultural value chain and allied industries to support the Nigerian economy while widening the already open opportunities for foreign exchange earnings.
Mr. Etuh said with the move alone, the Government was already on the verge of saving more than N720 billion in foreign exchange, saved thousands of jobs while also creating the enablers for even more job creation in the agro=allied industry.
He stressed that NPK Fertilizer blends from Nigeria are produced with specific soil composition in mind, a situation that, unlike most imported blends which destroy the soil, preserves and adds value to soil nutrients.
“Fertilizer blending plants in Nigeria are growing and have demonstrated capacity to produce exactly what Nigerian farmers need to enrich Nigerian soil for improved food production. We have demonstrated this and have attestations from farmers to support this claim and when I say we have the capacity, I mean we have such capacity in quantitative and qualitative terms,” he stated.
The FEPSAN President added that members of the Association already have installed capacity at more than 20 blending plants spread across the country to produce up to four million tons of high quality NPK fertilizer blends, a figure that surpasses the 1.5 million tons, which the highest volume ever utilized by Nigerian farmers.
“We are aware that a lot more Nigerians are adopting agriculture as a business, especially in response to the Federal Government’s drive for food security. FEPSAN, in heeding the patriotic call for food security has placed itself in a position to ensure Nigerian farmers have all the best quality fertilizer the need. This also places us in a strong position to export to other countries in West and Central Africa, especially since we have capacity to produce more than what Nigerian farmers will need in the foreseeable future,” Mr. Etuh continued.
He said government has done the right thing because no economy that desires to grow should encourage the importation of what it has capacity to produce and at affordable prices.
He reminded Nigerians that through the combined efforts of the Federal Government, the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Nigerian Sovereign Wealth Fund and FEPSAN, the country had been saving as much as N60 billion annually in the subsidies hitherto paid for fertilizer imports while farmers now get the agro input round the year and at prices far lower than what was obtainable, even during the subsidy regime.