The International Fertilizer Development Centre has predicted an exponential increase in fertilizer consumption by Nigerian farmers as a result of the remarkable improvements in the local blending of the input under the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative of the Federal Government.
According to a report recently released by the IFDC in collaboration with the Food and Agricultural Organisation and other international agencies, fertilizer uptake by Nigerian farmers increased by 63 per cent in 2017, rising from 959,364 metric tonnes in 2016 to 1,564,816 metric tonnes.
The report, which also noted the increase in the exportation of Urea by Nigeria, stated that exports in the area increased from 329,630 metric tonnes in 2016 to 659,603mt in 2017, with over 50 per cent of the product going to Brazil.
It also highlighted some of the achievements being recorded in agriculture through the PFI and hinged the fertilizer growth enablers on the revival of blending plants with the active support of the Central Bank of Nigeria and other agencies of the government.
It also quoted a member of the Fertilizer Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria, Mr Gideon Negedu, as saying the industry in the country was targeting to produce more than one million metric tonnes of blended NPK fertilizer this year, adding that with increase in crop yield in mind, players had agreed to the introduction of more critical micro nutrients in fertilizer blending for the 2018 PFI programme.
The PFI is a programme of the Federal Government designed to ensure an increase in the local manufacturing of fertilizer through the revival of moribund blending plants and possible establishment of new ones.
Since the government began its implementation in 2017 in partnership with the Fertilizer Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria, fertilizer blends have become available all year round, with the price at N5,500, down from N11,000 and above in previous years.