Uyo, Nigeria. The Akwa Ibom State Government has gone into a Private Public Partnership (PPP) with a Georgia, USA, fertiliser and allied product company, for the establishment of an automated fertiliser blending plant that will come on stream in the state by 2018. The automated fertiliser blending plant already cited at Abak community when completed will have a storage capacity of 400,000 metric tonnes of fertiliser. This was disclosed in a statement to journalists in Uyo by Richard Ekpe, Akwa Ibom State Director of Agriculture and Food Sufficiency.
According to Richard Ekpe, the establishment of the plant is to complement the efforts of the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative (PFI) and the Fertiliser Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria (FEPSAN) at ensuring the availability of fertiliser for farmers.
“Some of the facilities at our fertiliser warehouse are for blending the establishment of the blending plant. The infrastructure is already on ground but the equipment is expected to arrive Akwa Ibom in the next one month for installation. We hope to start producing fertiliser in 2018.”
Richard Ekpe also said that the Akwa Ibom State Government led by Governor Emmanuel Udom, has formed a formidable team of extension workers to get feedback on challenges and needs of farmers through their various zones and cells.
He commended the Muhammadu Buhari administration for its fertiliser initiative, noting that it had ensured an all-year-round farming in the state.
“We commend the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative (PFI) for making fertiliser available and affordable for farmers in Akwa Ibom. Our governor is one of the first governors that keyed into this programme to assuage the needs of farmers and ensure they record high yield when they harvest. We now farm all year round; moreover, the yield will be poor if fertiliser is not applied to crops to supplement the nutrients that plants need.”
Ekpe, however, urged the federal government to consider expanding the scope by encouraging the production of other fertilizer types. This, he said, would encourage the planting of palm trees which needed the NPK 12-12-17+2MgO fertiliser for a high yield, instead of the generic NPK 20-10-10.
“In order words, the government fertiliser provided the necessary ingredients the farmers require for their crops but they are yearning for other types,” Ekpe said.
Photo: Governor Emmanuel Udom
The Presidential Fertiliser Initiative (PFI) which Ekpe made reference to, is concerned only with the production of NPK Fertiliser, which is what is known as a “multi-nutrient” Fertiliser. Other types of Fertiliser exist, like ‘Single Super Phosphate’, and ‘Urea’, which are both examples of “single nutrient” Fertilisers, and are already being manufactured locally in Nigeria. Urea — which apart from being a single-nutrient Fertilizer, is also a component of NPK, is produced by Indorama Eleme Fertilizer and Chemicals (IEFCL) Company and Notore Chemical Industries, both in Rivers State.