VENTURES AFRICA – In another move to create more employments and facilitate the growth of the Nigerian economy, Africa’s richest man, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, announced on Monday at a state function, plans to build a 300 billion naira ($1.9 billion) fertilizer plant in Edo State, Nigeria.
The fertilizer plant which will have a production capacity of 2,200 metric tons per day (MTPD) of Ammonia and 7.700 MTPD of granulated Urea (two 3,850 MTPD-capacity trains), will be the largest fertilizer plant in Africa. According to reports, the largest existing fertilizer plant in Africa has an installed capacity of 1,000 MTPD of Ammonia and 1,500 MTPD of Urea.
“Yes, we will build the biggest fertilizer plant in Africa here in Edo State,” Dangote said at the reception in Benin, the capital of the state, to mark the 2nd term inauguration of Governor Adams Oshiomhole.
The billionaire industrialist said that the project is planned to commence in December 2012 or January 2013, although Saipem Nigeria, the engineering company signed last year to launch construction of the plant, had slated early 2012 for the commencement and 2014 for the completion.
However, Dangote disclosed that the plant will be completed in three years.
“I am reassuring you… that in the next three years, Edo State will be exporting fertilizer from here to other parts of Africa.”
The Dangote fertilizer plant is expected to create more than ten thousand direct and indirect jobs, and significantly boost Nigeria’s agriculture and economy.
For years, Nigeria has relied on imported fertilizer for its agriculture which contributes 46-47 percent of its GDP, and has expended reserves providing subsidies on the products to encourage farmers to purchase and increase farming output.
In 2011, the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, said to a senate agric committee that the country imports 630 billion naira ($4.2 billion) worth of fertilizer annually.
But according to a statement by Dangote last year, at the signing of the agreement with Saipem, when the “plant is completed and commissioned, the country will become self sufficient in fertilizer production and even have the capacity to export the products to other African countries.”
In the heat of global food crisis and rising food insecurity, international organizations such as the World Bank, have been looking to Africa and aiding the continent to escalate food production has its untapped arable land and people hold the key to food security.
It is believed self-sufficient fertilizer production in Nigeria will reduce the cost price of the product and increase availability, therefore increasing farming productivity in the region.