Chief of Party, Feed the Future Nigeria, Agro Inputs Project IFDC, DR Kofi Debrah has said Nigeria will save $206 million in import substitution, if farmers adopt the new inputs and right fertilisers which have been tested by the organization in collaboration with the National Programme for Food Security (NPFS).
He assured that they had worked with the NPSS and done soil analysis using the soil doctor kit , provided by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and found all the soils need in order to grow plants very well.
The Expert made the assertion while speaking with Journalists at the Feed the Future Nigerian Implementing Partners Policy Dialogue Series in Abuja Yesterday ,with the theme: First Policy Dialogue on Bringing Balanced Fertilisers to the Nigerian Market: Policy and Investment Implication of of Soil and Crop Specific Fertiliser blend-based technologies’
According to DR Debrah “we have been doing a lot of work with the Ministry particularly the NPFS in the areas of soil, testing and using the right kinds of fertilisers, noting that Nigerians use fertilisers based on only three nutrients primarily, Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium, which is not good enough, because the plants need more than these.
“We have added Sulphur and Zinc which are secondary nutrients to the fertilizer that is usually available and we produce these new blended fertilisers, blended by AGTHO fertiliser Company and tested them all over Northern Nigeria in the dry and wet seasons and we have very good results “ he said
The Fertiliser expert said, if you use these technology , the urea displacement technology, you are likely to have extra 2.2 metric tonnes per hectare In addition .So we came here to have a workshop bringing together the public sector, policy makers, researchers ad farmers so that they would be aware of what we are doing and then we incite them to action, so that they would be able use the quality seeds, the blended fertilisers, management practices so that they have increased yields.
He further observed that though Nigeria agriculture has lots of interventions, the yield are not as high as we would like them to be, because the farmers are not doing the right thing.
“So with this kind of information we have, we want to see if by anyway, we can help the farmers have access to the inputs and use them correctly, then if its adopted on a wide-scale, they are likely to have massive production of rice just by using the right types of fertilisers and in our estimates we are looking at savings of about 206million USD in import substation if indeed farmers used this technology and 5% of the total rice areas in Nigeria, which is just about 150,000 hectares”
Also speaking, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh who was represented by the President, Soil Science Society of Nigeria, Prof, Victor Chude assured that efforts are being made to ensure that the fertilisers to be supplied through the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative (PFI} are the ones that crops would respond to , that would end up in increased crop productivity, so that is the effort that is going on.
He said the “Workshop was meant to call the attention of all stakeholders, policy makers, end users for fertilisers and seeds on the need to use the right type of fertilizer at the right time, right quantity and using improved varieties of crops so that value for money will be gotten, to ensure increased productivity of crops that would translate to improvement in food security in this country”.
Also speaking, the President , All Farmers Association of Nigeria(AFAN), Architect Kabiru Ibrahim has said with the current revolution on fertilizer now, farmers can afford to buy
He said “ there is a revolution going on now that fertilizer would be available from the work they are doing to produce one million tonnes of NPK from the price which is maximum N5500, the farmers can buy this”
Aside from that what we have been exposed to today, the dialogue is very promising to agricultural production and the farmers welcome that , because it would make us rich and we would be able to feed Nigeria, our neighbor’s as well export.
He assured that we will welcome this development, embrace all the production enhancement technology that are there and look forward to seeing fertilisers on the shelves and all over the place, so that it will be available like Coca Cola and that is what is going to happen if we keep the tempo. Adding that “This would enhance food security”