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President Buhari Impressed With Dangote’s $2.5bn Fertiliser Plant

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President Buhari Impressed With Dangote’s $2.5bn Fertiliser Plant

…surprised at the scale of investment; says nation set to witness agric boom

Olushola Okunlade Writes

President Muhammadu Buhari today commissioned the new 3 million Metric Tonnes capacity per annum state-of-the-art Dangote Fertiliser Urea Plant, with an emphatic assurance that the project would give a huge fillip to Nigeria’s agricultural sector, which revitalisation has been a focal point of his administration’s economic policy. 

The new plant, which he commissioned in the presence of some 18 governors, ministers, captains of industries as well as prominent traditional rulers, is located at Ibeju Lekki, Lagos Free Trade Zone within the periphery of the Dangote refinery.

A visibly excited President Buhari said the coming on stream of the plant would create huge opportunities in the areas of employment, trade, warehousing, transport, and logistics. The Plant, according to the President “will greatly create wealth, drastically reduce poverty and secure the future of our nation”.

President Buhari Impressed With Dangote’s $2.5bn Fertiliser Plant
Left-Right: Director, Dangote Industries Limited, Mariya Aliko Dangote; Deputy Secretary-General, The United Nations, Amina Mohammed; President/CE, Dangote Industries Limited, Aliko Dangote; President Muhammadu Buhari, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and Group Executive Director, Dangote Industries Limited, Halima Aliko Dangote, during the commissioning of Dangote Fertiliser 3.0 Metric Tonnes Urea Plant, Dangote Industries Free Zone, Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos on Tuesday, March 22, 2022.
President Buhari Impressed With Dangote’s $2.5bn Fertiliser Plant
Left-Right: Deputy Secretary-General, The United Nations, Amina Mohammed; President/CE, Dangote Industries Limited, Aliko Dangote; President Muhammadu Buhari, and Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, during the commissioning of Dangote Fertiliser 3.0 Metric Tonnes Urea Plant, Dangote Industries Free Zone, Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos on Tuesday, March 22, 2022.

He said, “In the agricultural sector, another focal point of our economic policy, we expect a boom as fertilizer is now readily available. Many Nigerians who hitherto practiced subsistence farming because of the non-availability of necessary inputs can now take up agriculture as a business. We expect a rise of a new breed of agropreneurs who will add value to farming and make the nation self-sufficient in food production.”

According to him, the federal government is now determined more than ever before to provide enabling environment for private sector investors to thrive, adding that his government would continue to improve on infrastructure, power, security, and enact relevant laws and regulations that would drive investments in the economy.

President Buhari reiterated that part of the government’s effort in this regard was the partnership with the private sector government via a tax credit scheme, in the rehabilitation of roads across Nigeria under Presidential Order No. 7.

“As we all know, good roads contribute to easy movement of goods and services across the nation, thus reducing the cost of doing business and improving productivity. We are also rehabilitating our railway lines and building new ones to lessen the burden on our roads and create more effective multi-modal transportation networks,” he added.

In an earlier welcome address, President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote described the new plant as a game-changer, as it has the capacity to make Nigeria become self-sufficient in fertilizer production, with spare capacity to export to other markets in Africa and the rest of the world. He added that already, Dangote fertilizer has reached the markets in the USA, Brazil, and Mexico.

According to him, the Fertiliser plant, which is the largest granulated  Urea fertilizer complex in Africa, occupies 500 hectares of land, was built at a cost of $2.5 Billion, and is expected to reduce drastically the level of unemployment and youth restiveness in the country through employment opportunities. To him, the plant is expected to generate new jobs with top-quality fertilizer being available and in sufficient quantities for the farmers.

He stated that agriculture accounts for 20 percent of the nation’s GDP and that the new plant was an ambitious project that would provide both direct and indirect employment, thereby reducing youth restiveness

Dangote Fertiliser, according to him, would ensure the emergence of farmers in the country, providing hundreds of jobs and ushering in a new era of agricultural entrepreneurs, (agroprenuers). “This breed of agroprenuers will take to farming on large scales, providing food and raw materials for our industries,” he added.

Dangote stated that the fertilizer plant is rolling out with innovations that would transform the agricultural sector in the form of extension services for small and medium-scale farmers. It has set up a well-equipped fertilizer soil testing laboratory to enable it to analyze and identify soil deficiency and the appropriate fertilizer blend.

“Studies have shown that applying the right fertilizer to the soil will boost productivity. This service is to cover all the geopolitical zones, and will surely change the agricultural landscape in the country by transforming farming into a lucrative profession.

“Dangote Fertiliser is working with Farmer Associations, Corporate Farmers, NPK Blenders, NGO/development partners and State Governments all over Nigeria, and governments across Africa and beyond who are looking for a sustainable approach to improving soil quality and farm yields,” he explained.

President Buhari Impressed With Dangote’s $2.5bn Fertiliser Plant
Left-Right: President/CE, Dangote Industries Limited, Aliko Dangote; Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila; President Muhammadu Buhari; and Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, during the commissioning of Dangote Fertiliser 3.0 Metric Tonnes Urea Plant, Dangote Industries Free Zone, Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos on Tuesday, March 22, 2022
President Buhari Impressed With Dangote’s $2.5bn Fertiliser Plant
Left-Right: President/CE, Dangote Industries Limited, Aliko Dangote; Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila; President Muhammadu Buhari; Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; and President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan during the commissioning of Dangote Fertiliser 3.0 Metric Tonnes Urea Plant, Dangote Industries Free Zone, Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos on Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Speaking at the occasion, Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele said Nigeria is indeed indebted to Aliko Dangote for his giant stride to add value to Nigeria’s economy. According to him, “It is great that a Nigerian has taken not just this great initiative of helping to solve our perennial problem of importing petrochemical products including fertilizer but has taken advantage of the emerging huge market opportunity presented by recent global developments.”

Emefiele commended President Buhari for providing all the support needed to put in place economic policies that would reverse the trend of the doldrums, pointing out that the completion of the fertilizer plant is a stellar example of the realization of the vision.

The CBN governor described the fertilizer plant as timely considering the recent developments in the global market, where prices of wheat, fertilizer, and crude oil spiked by over 20 percent, following the start of the Russia – Ukraine war.

“In addition to the lessons we learned from the protectionist actions of countries during the early days of COVID-19, this investment is again a glaring testament to the foresight and tireless efforts of Mr. President in encouraging domestic production of items that can be produced in Nigeria, especially agriculture. This would not only help to enable greater productivity of our agricultural sector but also help in insulating Nigerian farmers from depending on imported fertilizer,” Emefiele stated.

He recalled that prior to 2015 when President Buhari resumed office, Nigeria had a fertilizer shortfall of about 3.5 million tonnes per annum compared to the over 6 million tonnes per annum required in the country.

“Then President Buhari inaugurated the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative and charged them with resolving this problem. With sustained efforts, other indigenous companies like Indorama and Notore with a combined capacity of over 2.5 million tonnes per annum have tried to match the market demand, yet the country still faced a huge shortfall of fertilizer supply. Today, Nigeria is self-sufficient in the production of urea, and we are also the leading producer of urea in the African continent,” he added.

The Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Mahmood Abubakar called on other investors to rise up to the occasion, noting that the Dangote Fertiliser would help to solve the problem of fertilizer shortages in Nigeria. He also assured that the government would enforce standards in the industry to maintain quality.

Lagos state governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu commended Alhaji Aliko Dangote for always blazing the trail, noting that the Lagos state government was happy to be hosting many of his businesses. He added that “with the largest fertilizer plant in Africa in Lagos and the largest refinery in the world coming soon, there is nobody that would not be proud of Alhaji Dangote.”

The governor stated that Nigeria would quickly forget its many economic problems if another entrepreneur like Dangote could be replicated in other regions of Nigeria.

Sanwo-Olu also said that private investors could always count on the Lagos State government when it comes to the provision of an enabling environment to make businesses thrive. 

Agriculture

How The War In Ukraine Is Impacting Global Food Security

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How The War In Ukraine Is Impacting Global Food Security

CNN’s David McKenzie reports on how the war in Ukraine is causing a shortage of wheat and grain leading to impacts on global food security.

Russia and Ukraine are both agricultural export powerhouses and the war is impacting supply chains across the world.

In Kenya, farmer Caroline Kimarua has been forced to lay off staff following rising fertilizer costs. Russia is one of the biggest fertilizer producers in the world. The cost of fertilizer and the natural gas used to make it have soared. Sanctions and trade disruption could push prices even higher.

CNN also speaks to workers at a bakery in Lagos, Nigeria, where the supply of yeast has been affected.

Wandile Sihlobo, Chief Economist for the Agriculture Business Chamber of South Africa, says that the war has come at a particularly bad time, when many countries were beginning to recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, “The war is starting at one of the worst times. Because we were already thinking we are in recovery mode. On top of that, there were already inflation pressures that were across the world.”

Sihlobo adds, “Africans are spending a lot on fuel and spending a lot on food and in this current moment this is a tough time for the continent.”

The impact of this conflict is coming on top of soaring global grain prices. While countries across the world are feeling the impact, economists are highlighting specific African countries like Senegal and Somalia which rely heavily on Ukrainian and Russian wheat.

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Agriculture

Agrolog Partner Mastercard Foundation To Boost Smallholder Farmers On Ginger Production

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Agrolog Partners Mastercard Foundation to Boost Smallholder Farmers on Ginger Production

…60,000 smallholder farmers receive support

Olushola Okunlade Writes

In collaboration with Mastercard Foundation, Agrolog Limited has empowered 60,000 smallholder farmers along the ginger value chain to boost productivity and enhance entrepreneurial farming with women farmers.

Since 2018, Agrolog has invested in developing the ginger value chain by using its internal resources to support an out-grower scheme, reaching an aggregate of 10,000 farmers.

This collaborative effort is focused on providing immediate material, capacity, and structural support to 60,000 smallholder farmers out of the over 1.2 million vulnerable indigenous Ginger farming communities of Kaduna State, spanning 12 local government areas.

As a result of the first year’s harvest, Agrolog embarked on vigorous training of women within the project community to help them process some of their harvests into ginger juice, powder, oil, spices, and syrup to create new markets within and outside these communities.

The training featured over 100 women trained in batches who will become merchants for processed Ginger in Southern Kaduna.

The women were mainly excited as they have been economically empowered to cater to their families and are grateful for a project that mostly pays attention to women to drive equality in community development.

According to Dr. Manzo Maigari, the Managing Director, Agrolog Limited, the Nigerian variety of Ginger is very much in demand and can serve as a significant source of income for the country. It is also acclaimed to be of superior quality with an outstanding flavour and is in heavy demand in the international market. “It is therefore on this basis that these women are undergoing training to give them a chance of more than just subsistence farming. In time, they can export their produce to international markets and get real value for their labour and grow to empower their families and other women who will, in turn, empower others. In this way, we enable a cycle of development and progressive practices, which will drive gender parity and promote inclusion for women and women farmers in Nigeria” she said.

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Agriculture

MAAN Commends Unity Bank For Supporting Maize Farmers

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Maan Commends Unity Bank For Supporting Maize Farmers

Olushola Okunlade Writes

Nigerian maize farmers under the auspices of the Maize Farmers Association of Nigeria (MAAN) have commended Nigeria’s agric-focused lender, Unity Bank Plc for its role in facilitating the financing of maize production by smallholder farmers in the country through the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The President of MAAN, Dr Bello Abubakar gave the commendation while delivering an address at the official unveiling of 21 maize pyramids in Kaduna on Thursday.

Maan Commends Unity Bank For Supporting Maize Farmers
Left-Right: Mrs. Patricia Ahunanya, Head, Agribusiness, Unity Bank Plc, Dr Bello Abubakar, President, Maize Association of Nigeria, MAAN and Mr. Usman Abdulkadir, Executive Director, Risk Management & Compliance, Unity Bank Plc at the unveiling of Maize Pyramids by MAAN in Kaduna on Thursday.

Abubakar said Unity Bank has proved to be a trusted and reliable partner of Nigerian maize farmers in their journey to sustain sufficiency in maize production in the country.

“What we celebrate today would have been impossible without our finance partner, Unity Bank. The Bank has been a reliable partner in the journey and we shall continue to partner to greater heights,” Abubakar said.

Through Unity Bank’s strategic partnership with the maize farmers under the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme of the CBN, which focuses on commodities with significant concerns for foreign exchange, maize production output has risen to 11 million metric tons from 10.1 million metric tonnes in 2014.

As a major financial institution partner of the ABP, the Bank has facilitated the disbursement of billions of naira to no fewer than 4.52 million smallholder farmers across the various commodity value chains supported by the ABP, including to an additional 120,000 maize farmers in 2021 alone.

Maan Commends Unity Bank For Supporting Maize Farmers
Left-Right: Mrs. Patricia Ahunanya, Head, Agribusiness, Unity Bank Plc, Dr Bello Abubakar, President, Maize Association of Nigeria, MAAN and Mr. Usman Abdulkadir, Executive Director, Risk Management & Compliance, Unity Bank Plc at the unveiling of Maize Pyramids by MAAN in Kaduna on Thursday.
“Unity Bank has maintained its commitment to supporting the girl child by supporting several advocacy initiatives and investing in the education sector
Mrs. Tomi Somefun, Managing Director of Unity Bank.

Speaking at the event, the Managing Director of Unity Bank Plc, Mrs. Oluwatomi Somefun said the Bank remains committed to its strategic partnership with maize farmers to support their capacity to sustain sufficiency in maize production.

She said, “When we say that we are farmers’ best friends, we walk our talk. And I am glad that the association appreciates the invaluable support that we provide by facilitating the financing of their activities. As a Bank, we are driven by the overarching objectives of the federal government to drive food sufficiency, while creating the much-needed jobs for sustainable development.”

Represented by Mr. Usman Abdulkadir, Executive Director, Risk Management and Compliance, Somefun said the pyramids displayed is a reminder of the inherent possibilities in Nigeria’s agricultural value chains and proof that with enough commitment, Nigeria could maximise its potential in agriculture through strategic initiatives such as the Anchor Borrowers Programme.

Since its launch in 2015, the central bank has through the ABP programme, disbursed a total of ₦975.61 billion to over 4.52 million smallholder farmers, who have cultivated 21 commodities across the country for the procurement of inputs and cultivation of maize, rice and wheat.

Maize is one of Nigeria’s most important staple foods, with about 60 per cent of the maize produced in Nigeria used for commercial activities including the production of poultry feeds and as a major ingredient in alcohol production.

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