Fertilizer: FESPAN, Farmers’ Association Disagree On NPK Importation Ban
The Fertiliser Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria and the All Farmers Association of Nigeria have expressed different views about the outright ban on Nitrogen Phosphorous and Potassium fertilizers by the Federal Government.
FEPSAN in press statement on Sunday had applauded the government for totally banning the importation of all blends of NPK.
FEPSAN President, Mr Thomas Etuh, said the move would stop the importation of poor quality NPK fertiliser blends into the country and boost local capacity while protecting the soil from toxic fertilisers imported into the country.
He said the government had done the right thing, because no economy that desired to grow would encourage the importation of what it could produce and at affordable prices.
“The only way the Federal Government can demonstrate its commitment to improve agricultural production and boost local capacity is by taking such strong purposive steps.
“The ban will position the entire agricultural value chain and allied industries to support the Nigerian economy while widening the already open opportunities for foreign exchange earnings.”
Etuh said the ban would save the country about $500m annually and create more jobs for Nigerians in the agro-allied sector.
He stressed that NPK fertiliser blended in the country were produced with specific soil composition in mind, which was not the case with most imported products which destroyed the soil and stunted the growth of crops.
But the National President, All Farmers Association of Nigeria, Kabir Ibrahim, said there was no outright ban on the product as that would amount to going against the World Trade Organisation’s agreement.
Ibrahim said in contrast to an outright ban, there were efforts to discourage the importation of NPK.
“The prevailing circumstances do not encourage importation because it will amount to loss for the importer. One million metric tonnes of NPK is currently produced locally by blending and the price is controlled. Nobody is allowed to sell it at a price that is higher than N5, 500 per bag,” he said.
The government had in January 2017 imported more than 800,000 tonnes of phosphate from Morocco for blending fertiliser locally.
The government also cut the price of NPK fertilizer from N9,000 to N5,000 to boost agricultural production in the country.
FESPAN had been consistent in the call for the ban on importation of NPK, saying it would save the economy N180bn annually.