By Lawrence Olaoye
Nigeria have signed an agreement with Russia on the supply of potash, a major raw material for the production of fertilizer.
The pact was signed yesterday in the office of the Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari, in the Presidential Villa.
The Managing Director of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), Mr Uche Orji, signed on behalf of the Nigerian government while Mr Dmitry Konyeaev signed on behalf of the Russian company that will supply the product.
Speaking at the event, Jigawa State Governor, Abubakar Badaru, who is also the Chairman, Presidential Fertilizer Initiative, said entering the agreement with Russia was another milestone in the life of the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“It is another milestone in President Buhari’s effort to increase farm production and to support farmers. As you all recall, President Putin of Russia hosted African leaders recently at a summit and our President was there.
“During one of the side meetings, President proposed the possibility of Nigeria buying Potash form a company in Russia and today we witnessed a culmination of that discussion, where Nigeria and Russia have signed an agreement on potash purchase by Nigeria,” he said.
He said the move, which has checked the excesses of middlemen, would further boost the supply of fertilizer at an affordable rate to Nigerian farmers.
“What we have just witnessed will help in stabilizing the price of NPK brand of fertilizer that we produce locally. The beauty of this deal is that it is a direct purchase, no commission agent and also because of the involvement of the two Presidents, the price is very competitive,” the governor explained.
In his remark, the NSIA boss, who signed on behalf of Nigeria, said so far over 19 million bags of fertilizer have been blended by Nigeria in the last two years.
“Between 2017 when the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative started and today, over 19 million bags of fertilizer have been blended by this programme at a price of N5,500 and more importantly, we have revived some of the blending plants that were moribund. Today, as we approach the programme for 2020, 26 local blending plants, which include some of the old and new ones have joined the programme,” he said.
Highlighting some of the gains of the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative PFI programme, Orji said: “Through the programme, fertilizer has been freely available especially for NPL 20:10:10, since 2017-2019. We have had a very successful programme so far with over 19 million bags of the product blended and sold and this chapter of our engagement Is a new phase in the whole PFI programme.”
The Deputy Chairman of the Russian company that will supply the product, Uralchem, Mr Dmitry Konyaev, who signed on behalf of the Russian government, said his country is looking into ways of making the product more available at a competitive price.
“We are bringing potash at a very competitive international price for Nigeria and we have to develop our cooperation on how to make the product more available and affordable for the farmers and make their lives better,” he said.
The signing ceremony was witnessed by the Chief of Staff to the President and the Russian Ambassador to Nigeria, Alexey Sherbashin.