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FEPSAN eyes export market as FG restricts fertiliser import

Bags of fertiliser at one of the blending plants.

The executive secretary, Fertilizer Producers Association of Nigeria (FESPAN), Ahmed Rabiy Kwa, has disclosed that very soon, Nigeria will begin to export NPK fertilizer, saying that only 30 per cent of raw materials are presently being imported to blend NPK.

Speaking at a one-day productivity improvement training for 80 registered distributors, Kwa said the aim of the training was basically to build the capacity of registered distributors on financial literacy and proper record keeping.

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He disclosed that the association, in collaboration with the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI), had created between 250 and 300 jobs between 2017 and 2018.

According to him, “The Federal Government has banned the importation of NPK to the country and this is a plus to domestic blending plants, and urea now available to all blending plants in the country.

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“Nigeria now only imports about 30 per cent of raw materials to blend NPK, and very spoon, Nigeria will be exporting NPK to neighbouring countries,’’ he said.

Earlier in his opening remarks, FEPSAN technical officer, Mr Segun Adesola said that until Nigeria got it right in fertilizer, national food security would remain an illusion to the country.

According to him, “Fertilizer remains a critical input that cannot be ignored if agriculture in Nigeria must attain its acclaimed potential as a credible alternative to generating gainful employment, increasing both private and government revenues in the short and long term.

“So it is safe to say that until you get it right in fertilizer, national food security will still remain an illusion to this country. It is a general saying that most businesses collapse before reaching five years due to the problem of business structuring, planning and internal control, which is highly related to inadequate record keeping.

“It is against this background that the Fertilizer Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria has organised a one-day training workshop tailored specifically for its fertilizer distributors. The objectives of the training is to equip the distributors with skills on how to prepare basic business cash records, develop simple record keeping skills, develop skills in setting financial goals by understanding their business goals, develop habit of saving for unexpected circumstances and identify the need for investment, learn how to make financial decisions for personal and business purposes, using credit and debit book records.

“The expected outcomes of the training are: distributors will be able to use and adopt modern ways of record keeping, expand their business outlets so that they can reach more farmers, increase incomes and improve the quality of life of distributors through proper business planning, and help the country to attain food security through increased production by reaching more farmers.”

A resource person, Hajiya Hussaina Salihu from the Kaduna Business School said the participants would be taken through an introduction to financial literacy, managing money and savings.

Mr Gideon Negedu, the liaison manager of the association, in an interview with Daily Trust on Sunday in Abuja said Nigeria had more than enough local capacity to blend any NPK it wanted, stressing that it would be unwise for the country to keep bringing in the finished product.

“We recognise that the fertiliser blending industry is still very young and cannot compete with imported fertilizer. So let us give a ban that will help the industry to grow; that way, we will attract local investment.

“Today, we have what we call the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative, where we revived dead blending plants through private sector money because government created the environment and we keyed into it. This led to the revival of almost 18 blending plants producing a lot of the NPK we are using today,” he stated.

He, however, said there  should not be a blanket ban on all fertilizers because the raw materials used in their production are also fertilizers in themselves.

He said this would ensure that farmers are suited to specific soils available before farming commences, adding that it would be cheaper than imported fertilizers.

“This is commendable. It is to protect new investments that have made Nigeria self-sufficient in NPK,” he said.

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