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Alhaji Aliko Dangote
…As plant set for unveiling
By Chris Ochayi
Determined to address the issue of food security, the Federal Government has expressed its readiness to partner with Dangote Fertilizer Limited in order to achieve Agricultural Transformation Agenda, aimed at boosting food production in the country.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono, who stated this during a facility tour of the Dangote Fertilizer plant in Lagos at the weekend, called on the company to assist the Federal Government’s agricultural mechanisation scheme as well as extension services for small scale farmers.
Besides, the construction of the Fertilizer plant has been fully completed and is set for commissioning in the next few months.
Nanono said Dangote support is needed for the success of the mechanisation scheme, which he said, is expected to cover 632 local government areas across the nation.
“It is very clear that Dangote, in one way or the other, will help in this programme by the Federal Government.” he said.
Nanono said Aliko Dangote’s investment in fertilizer production will contribute to improved farm yields and agricultural productivity, which are critical to Nigeria’s long-term food security.
The Minister commended Dangote for keying into the Federal Government’s Presidential Initiative on Fertilizer aimed at bringing down the cost of fertilizers across the country.
“The capacity of Dangote Fertilizer is enough to change the way fertilizer is being used in this country. We are going to complement his efforts and support him in this regard. The challenge of the supply of fertilizer is going to be solved by the Dangote Fertilizer plant. I can now go home and sleep,” he said.
According to him, the Federal Government wants to make sure that Nigerians have enough food to eat. We can only achieve the objective with enough fertilizer in the country. I am extremely proud of Aliko Dangote for what he is doing in this country.
“I think no other person has probably done half of what he is doing in the area of investment. If we can have just additional two of his type, this country will be completely different. I think all we have been trying to do as far as agricultural development is concerned, has been captured by the Dangote Fertilizer plant.
“Nigeria has a potential for agriculture. Obviously, Dangote Fertilizer is going to help the government and the farmers, he said.
He added that the Federal Government wants to make sure that Nigerians have enough food to eat. We can only achieve that objective with enough fertiliser in the country. That’s why we consider Dangote Fertilizer as a partner in progress in achieving food sufficiency in the country, he said.
Nanono stated that the small-scale farmers are going to benefit from Dangote Fertilizer. “There is need for us to support small scale farmers who have been helping the government in respect to food security. Once the small-scale farmers get all the necessary support, there will be agricultural revolution in this country.
“Some of you will remember when the Federal Government initiated a policy to support local production of rice in Nigeria and discourage the importation of rice. Some vested interest kicked against it.
“The breakout of COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of Nigerian borders, shows that the Federal Government took the right decision regarding rice policy. Now, we are eating our own rice. The small-scale farmers have also been contributing to Nigeria’s self-sufficiency in rice production in the country”, he said.
Giving update on the fertilizer project, Group Executive Director, Strategy, Capital Projects & Portfolio Development, Dangote Industries Limited, Chief Devakumar Edwin said that Dangote Fertilizer Limited has a well-equipped fertilizer soil testing laboratory to ensure efficiency of the product for farmers.
He explained: “The laboratory will enable us analyse and identify a particular soil deficiency. Applying the right fertilizer to soil will enable it yield maximum result.
The goal of our soil testing is to provide an accurate assessment of the soil’s fertility to make fertilizer recommendations. A proper soil test will help ensure the application of enough fertilizer to meet the requirements of the crop while taking advantage of the nutrients already present in the soil.”
Edwin said that Dangote Fertilizer will make Nigeria become self-sufficient in fertilizer production and have the capacity to export the products to other African countries.
“Right now, farmers are forced to utilise whatever fertilizer that is available as they have no choice, but we need to know that the fertilizer that will work in one state may not be suitable in another state, as they may not have the same soil type and composition,” he said.
“The same fertilizer you use for sorghum may not be the fertilizer you will use for sugar cane,” he added.
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Source: Vanguard News.