By Ikenna Uwadileke
The Fertiliser Producers Association of Nigeria (FEPSAN) has signed a second phase of agreement with Morocco’s state-owned phosphate and fertiliser group, OCP.
A statement issued on Tuesday in Abuja by FEPSAN President, Mr Thomas Etuh, said that the agreement would sustain the gains recorded in agricultural productivity.
Etuh said that the agreement was signed by Gov. Muhammed Abubakar of Jigawa who is the Chairman, Presidential Fertiliser Initiative (PFI) and Mr Mustafa Terrab, Chairman of OCP.
He stated that the agreement was in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to make Nigeria self-sufficient in food production.
Etuh said the agreement, which took the existing one signed in Dec. 2016 a step higher, would deepen the cooperation between the two organisations in technical support for blending operations.
He said that it would also deepen cooperation in agronomic assistance for enhanced fertiliser application and agricultural productivity.
“The agreement aims to enhance earlier arrangement that has enabled Nigerian farmers access high-quality fertiliser at affordable prices.
“It will also improve the agriculture industry by increasing the volume of raw material supplied to Nigerian blenders under the aegis of FEPSAN.
“This new agreement will further include the provision of technical support by the OCP to the Nigerian fertiliser producers, especially given the expected increased appetite of the market for locally blended NPK fertilisers.
“Unlike the initial agreement signed in 2016 and structured for a three-year life span, the new agreement shall be on a continuous basis.
“The first phase of the agreement was signed during King Mohammed VI’s visit to Nigeria and was pivotal to the commencement of the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative that started with eight blending plants in 2016.
“Today, that number has increased to 42 accredited plants in different parts of the country,” Etuh said.
He said that the first phase of the agreement helped to strengthen the private sector to stand on its own during the initial three-year period and would now give way to a new private sector-led initiative.
Etuh commended President Buhari for his initiative to revive moribund fertiliser blending plants in Nigeria for the benefit of Nigerian farmers and the national economy.
He also commended OCP Morocco for its support to Nigeria’s agricultural policy initiatives.
According to Etuh, the new agreement highlights the importance of cooperation among African countries towards the growth and development of the continent.
The FEPSAN president was optimistic that the new agreement would enable Nigerian blenders of NPK fertilizer to have access to improved supply of di-ammonium sulphate chemicals, critical for NPK fertiliser production.
He emphasised that with new blenders coming on stream, the country would be on the path of improved fertiliser market.
Etuh expressed belief that Nigerian farmers and players in the agricultural value chain would soon begin to reap the benefits of the agreement in job creation and improved gross domestic product for the country. (NAN)