By Maduabuchi Ubani
The President of the Fertilizer Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria (FEPSAN) Mr. Thomas Etuh has commended President Muhammadu Buhari for re-emphasising the need to sustain the ban placed on the importation of fertilizer and some staple food items into Nigeria.
A statement quoted the FEPSAN President to have said the presidential pronouncement was a demonstration of Mr. President’s determination to ensure self-sufficiency in food production.
Reacting to the presidential proclamation, Etuh said President Buhari has demonstrated uncommon commitment to the development of the agricultural sector in the country, and urged Nigerians to support the efforts towards making the country self-sufficient in food production.
“FEPSAN is grateful to the President for his uncommon commitment to agriculture in general and the fertilizer industry in particular. His efforts towards growing capacity in this most critical sector of the Nigerian economy has continued to yield tremendous dividends, especially since the launching of the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative in December 2016.
“Today 35 fertilizer plants are operating at full capacity across the country, employing hundreds of thousands of people directly and indirectly and supporting farmers with high quality fertilizer inputs,” the FEPSAN President said.
He added that the billions of naira that had been invested in the agricultural sector by Nigerians and other foreign investors bear strong testaments to the confidence the private sector reposes on the capacity of President Buhari to steer Nigeria to enhanced local agricultural development, employment generation and food security.
Etuh said it has been in response to the commitment towards enhancing the fortunes of the country in the agriculture value chain that propelled the members of the fertilizer association to ramp up investments in the production of quality, locally-adapted fertilizer that have been supplied to local farmers.
“Mr. President, in his wisdom understands the importance of local capacity building in the overall economic development of our dear country. Against the possibilities of pressures from briefcase investors to pen up the country for the importation of all manner of food items and agro inputs, we at FEPSAN appreciate his unwavering commitment towards amplifying the gains so far recorded in banning the importation of fertilizer and other food items.
“He knows the importance of foreign exchange conservation and prioritization of local capacity building in the redistribution of income and we will continue to work with the Federal Government to ensure that the immense opportunities in the country’s agricultural sector are fully exploited for the good of the national economy,” Etuh added.