By Merit Ibe
The Federal Government has partnered the OCP Group of Morocco to boost fertiliser production for farmers in Nigeria.
Against this background, a number of agreements have been signed at the University Mohamed VI Polytechnic in Morocco by OCP Africa and the Nigerian delegation headed by the Minister of Petroleum Resources,
Chief Timipre Sylva.
Through these agreements, the OCP Group had confirmed its commitment to the development of a sustainable and inclusive agriculture in Nigeria.
It also reaffirms OCP and Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) unwavering support of agricultural development initiatives across the country.
According to a communique, the partnership seeks to provide Nigerian farmers quality fertilisers adapted to the needs of their soil at competitive prices and produced locally. The business visit is a follow up to the industrial project that was officially launched in June 2018 following the success of the first phase of the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative supported by OCP.
The project, which was first announced during the official visit to Morocco by President Muhammadu Buhari, is aimed at developing a versatile industrial platform in Nigeria. It is also expected to utilise Nigerian gas and Moroccan phosphate to produce 750,000 tons of ammonia and one million tons of phosphate fertilizers annually by 2025. To achieve the set target, a number of agreements were signed between OCP Africa, the Fertiliser Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria, and NSIA in order to commit to the second phase of the Nigerian Presidential Fertiliser Initiative.
Similarly, a shareholders’ agreement was also signed between OCP Africa and the NSIA for the creation of the Joint Venture Company. This agreement would oversee the development of a versatile industrial platform that will produce ammonia and fertilisers in Nigeria.
During the visit, a Memorandum of Understanding between OCP Africa, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, and NSIA was sealed. The objective of the pact is to evaluate the opportunity of an equity investment by the NNPC in the JVC and for its support on gas.
The visit also provided the Nigerian delegation another opportunity to seal a Framework Agreement between OCP Africa, Mobil Producing Nigeria, the NNPC, the Gas Aggregation Company Nigeria and the NSIA on gas supply for the industrial platform.
This is in addition to the MoU that was sealed between OCP Africa, Akwa Ibom State Government and the NSIA on land acquisition, administrative facilitation and common agricultural development projects in the state.
Moreover, these pacts also aim at strengthening the solid partnership between OCP Group and the different institutions in the gas industry in Nigeria.
They are also expected to materialize the technical aspects of the industrial platform.
This industrial platform would also be leveraging Nigerian and Moroccan natural resources, namely the Nigerian gas and the Moroccan phosphate.
In 2016, OCP Group first partnered with the Fertilizer Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria under the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative, supported by NSIA.
“This collaboration stretched across the entire agricultural value chain, from the introduction of customized fertilizers adapted to local soils and crops to improving the availability of fertilizers in the local market at competitive prices.
“The partnership also included farmer support initiatives, supply chain development projects along with the strengthening of a close distribution system.
“These joint efforts have led to the renovation of 13 blending units and packaging for fertilizers and installation by private operators of more than 14 new factories.”
Thhese investments, according to NSIA have increased the local production capacity to more than five million tons per year, allowing Nigerian farmers better access to quality fertilizers.
“In line with this, three Blending units are currently under construction by OCP group in Kaduna, Ogun and Sokoto states due to start this year.
“With a total production capacity of 500,000 tons of fertilizers per year, they will serve as centres of excellence to promote exceptional agricultural practices and control technical aspects of fertilizer quality.”