In a measure reminiscent of his first stint in power, President Muhammadu Buhari has closed the country's land borders, part of increasingly drastic measures to protect the economy. Critics believe his actions are having the opposite effect.
OCP fertiliser deals take Nigeria closer to self-sufficiency
Morocco’s OCP expects to finalise a deal by the end of 2019 to build a $1.5bn ammonia plant in Nigeria, providing the latest boost to the country’s push for food security.
The state-run Moroccan fertiliser manufacturer – one of the world’s largest phosphate exporters – it is collaborating with the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) for this investment. A memorandum of understanding was signed last June during President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to Rabat.
The announcement comes as a welcome news to stakeholders in the agriculture sector; despite agriculture contributing about 24% of its Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP) annually, an overwhelming majority of farmers are still at subsistence level.
When complete, the new plant will have a capacity of over 1 million tonnes. Its establishment is part of a larger trend of commitments over the last few years to build fertiliser plants in Nigeria.
- As part of a commitment to ensure food security, the Buhari administration set out to revive 20 fertiliser plants last year.
- The Fertiliser Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria (FEPSAN) claims a majority of them have now been revived and are operational. It adds that the country should soon be exporting NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium) fertilisers.
- In July 2017, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo launched what is considered the world’s largest single-train urea plant, with a production capacity of 1.5m tonnes of urea fertiliser, in Rivers State. It is owned by Indorama Eleme Fertiliser and Chemicals Limited, the Nigerian affiliate of the Indonesia-based Indorama conglomerate. There are reports of a second plant underway, with support loans from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the African Development Bank (AfDB).
- Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, will not be outdone. He plans to commission another urea fertiliser plant later this year with an expected capacity double that of Indorama.
When full on-stream, all the plants together should ensure self-sufficiency in fertiliser production and vastly improve crop production as Africa’s most populous country prepares to grow enough for its own, ever-increasing population.