By Etuka Sunday
The Federal Government has asserted that Dangote Fertiliser Limited is very important to the achievement of its Agricultural Transformation Agenda, aimed at boosting food security in the country.
Besides, the construction of the Fertiliser plant has been fully completed and is set for commissioning in the next few months.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono, who stated this during a facility tour of the Dangote Fertiliser plant in Lagos at the weekend, called on the company to assist the Federal Government’s agricultural mechanisation scheme as well as extension services for small scale farmers.
According to him, Dangote support is needed for the success of the mechanisation scheme, which he said, is expected to cover 632 local government areas across the nation.
“It is very clear that Dangote, in one way or the other, will help in this programme by the Federal Government.” he said.
Nanono said Aliko Dangote’s investment in fertiliser production will contribute to improved farm yields and agricultural productivity, which are critical to Nigeria’s long-term food security.
The Minister commended Dangote for keying into the Federal Government’s Presidential Initiative on Fertiliser aimed at bringing down the cost of fertilisers across the country. “The capacity of Dangote Fertiliser is enough to change the way fertiliser is being used in this country. We are going to complement his efforts and support him in this regard. The challenge of the supply of fertiliser is going to be solved by the Dangote Fertiliser plant. I can now go home and sleep,” he said.
According to him, the Federal Government wants to make sure that Nigerians have enough food to eat. We can only achieve the objective with enough fertiliser in the country. I am extremely proud of Aliko Dangote for what he is doing in this country. I think no other person has probably done half of what he is doing in the area of investment. If we can have just additional two of his type, this country will be completely different. I think all we have been trying to do as far as agricultural development is concerned, has been captured by the Dangote Fertiliser plant. Nigeria has a potential for agriculture. Obviously, Dangote Fertiliser is going to help the government and the farmers, he said.
He added that the Federal Government wants to make sure that Nigerians have enough food to eat. We can only achieve that objective with enough fertiliser in the country. That’s why we consider Dangote Fertiliser as a partner in progress in achieving food sufficiency in the country, he said.
Nanono stated that the small-scale farmers are going to benefit from Dangote Fertiliser. “There is need for us to support small scale farmers who have been helping the government in respect to food security. Once the small-scale farmers get all the necessary support, there will be agricultural revolution in this country.
“Some of you will remember when the Federal Government initiated a policy to support local production of rice in Nigeria and discourage the importation of rice. Some vested interest kicked against it. The breakout of COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of Nigerian borders, shows that the Federal Government took the right decision regarding rice policy. Now, we are eating our own rice. The small-scale farmers have also been contributing to Nigeria’s self-sufficiency in rice production in the country”, he said.
Giving update on the fertiliser project, Group Executive Director, Strategy, Capital Projects & Portfolio Development, Dangote Industries Limited, Chief Devakumar Edwin said that Dangote Fertiliser Limited has a well-equipped fertiliser soil testing laboratory to ensure efficiency of the product for farmers.
He explained: “The laboratory will enable us analyse and identify a particular soil deficiency. Applying the right fertiliser to soil will enable it yield maximum result. The goal of our soil testing is to provide an accurate assessment of the soil’s fertility to make fertiliser recommendations.
A proper soil test will help ensure the application of enough fertiliser to meet the requirements of the crop while taking advantage of the nutrients already present in the soil.”
Edwin said that Dangote Fertiliser will make Nigeria become self-sufficient in fertiliser production and have the capacity to export the products to other African countries.
“Right now, farmers are forced to utilise whatever fertiliser that is available as they have no choice, but we need to know that the fertiliser that will work in one state may not be suitable in another state, as they may not have the same soil type and composition,” he said.
“The same fertiliser you use for sorghum may not be the fertiliser you will use for sugar cane,” he added.