Vice President Namadi Sambo
By Crusoe Osagie
Notore Chemical Industries Limited Wednesday announced that it had signed a Technical Services Agreement (TSA) with Tata Chemicals Limited, India commencing April 2011.
This agreement with Tata Chemicals will assist Notore in further optimising and achieving breakthrough performance in the operations of its fertiliser plant in Onne, Rivers State.
Tata Chemicals is an integrated chemicals company, a part of the Tata Group of companies, which operates one of the most efficient and successful Urea fertiliser plant located in Babrala, Northern India.
Notore said the Indian giant had deep operating excellence which would be brought to bear on its operations.
Chief Technical Officer, Mr. Charles Odita, said Notore exceeded its first quarter 2011 production targets by over 35 per cent.
The Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Notore Group, Mr Onajite Okoloko, said with the first quarter improvement, Notore over the next few months intended to complete the ongoing debt refinancing programme that would realign its cash flow with improved production, ahead of its planned public listing (scheduled for 2012) to fund a second Ammonia/Urea plant at the Onne facility.
“We are delighted that the Notore brand is making steady progress in the market place, differentiating itself from other brands in the market with its quality products. The TSA will ensure that we have constant feed of quality products into the Nigerian fertiliser market,” Okoloko said.
“Now that we are out of the project finance stage of our plans, and we have a major strategic partner in Tata Chemicals, we will now concentrate our activities of expanding our market and volumes. The Nigerian fertiliser market can easily grow two to three folds very quickly if good quality fertilisers are made available to the farmers as and when it is required. We are empowering Nigerian farmers with the right education and inputs (fertilisers and improved seeds) to enable them produce higher crop yields per hectare than they previously did,” he added.
Okoloko explained that key to Notore’s successful penetration into the Nigerian fertiliser market was the establishment of a nationwide distribution and sales network as well as a campaign to educate farmers about best practices in fertiliser use and application.
The Head, Agricultural Services of Notore, Dr. Innocent Okuku, said in January 2011, classes on fertiliser usage best practices had taken place in over 400 locations nationwide.
“The goal is to ensure that when the rains come, our farmers will have the right knowledge and mindset to generate the yields that are possible through empowering the farmer,” Okuku said.
In order to complement farmer education in 2009, Notore made history by breaking bulk and reducing the hitherto 50kg bags into 1kg and 5kg bags for easier accessibility and affordability to subsistent farmers who found it challenging to purchase fertiliser. The success of the 1kg bag and farmer education is already evident in the impact it is making at the grassroots level.
One of the empowered farmers Auwalu Sani of Sabonlayi Nasaru in Kankara Local Government area of Katsina State said, “We are encouraged by the adoption of these best practices. Notore taught me the fertiliser business in which I sold about half a truck of 1kg and about half a truck of 50kg. I have expanded my business to selling other farm inputs. They also taught me the best practices, and I in turn, through demonstration plots, teach farmers how to improve their yields. I am now known throughout my community and beyond as a provider of agriculture extension services and farm inputs. I was able to build a house, got married and now own a motorbike. I think this is something that any farmer will love to achieve.”
“Our goal is to multiply this effort all over Nigeria. This is what will reduce poverty, unemployment and create wealth at the grassroots. We can only do this through a focused execution of our goals and partnering with other established and successful organisations,” Okoloko said.
The CEO said Notore’s fertiliser plant acquired from the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) in 2005 had shown significant performance improvement since its successful rehabilitation exercise. He added that the Notore plant had a capacity of 350,000 metric tonnes (MT) of Ammonia per annum, 500,000MT of Urea per annum and 650,000MT of blended NPK.
“The bottom line is that Notore is gearing up for bigger and better things. No one said championing the African Green Revolution was going to be easy, but Notore plans to make agriculture rewarding for the farmers,” Okoloko said.