By Chinyere Anyanwu [email protected]
The ultramodern fertiliser blending plant branded, Kaduna Centre of Excellence, conceived to stimulate Nigeria’s agro value chain has been commissioned.
Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, performed the official launch recently at a brief but well attended ceremony in Kaduna.
While commending the management of OCP Africa for what he described as a signature investment the governor said the reality of the vision showed that Kaduna State is a safe haven for investors, the reason why global businesses like OCP Africa are responding to the state’s investment push.
He said, “For us in Kaduna, every new factory implies more jobs, bringing incomes that help to feed families and reduce poverty in our state. OCP Africa locating a fertiliser blending plant and Centre of Excellence within Kaduna State also expands the access that our farmers have to fertiliser supplies and agronomic support.
“It helps to improve the availability of an essential ingredient for farming, which would support our farmers to be more productive, particularly with soil and crop specific fertilisers. We look forward to building a stronger relationship with the OCP Group.”
In his welcome remarks, Chief Executive Officer, OCP Africa, Dr. Mohamed Anouar Jamali, expressed gratitude to the three tiers of government, including community leaders for the support they gave, which contributed to making the vision a reality.
“The plant we are here to launch is a strategic investment tailored toward strengthening Nigeria’s fertiliser industry. This facility is not just about blending fertilisers but about profoundly impacting the country’s agricultural value chain.
“OCP Africa is committed to contributing to the transformation of food systems in the continent and Nigeria bears a strategic focus for our company. That is why in 2016, we partnered with the Fertiliser Producers & Suppliers Association of Nigeria under the Presidential Fertiliser Initiative, supported by the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA). Our collaboration stretched to the entire agricultural value chain, from introducing customised fertilisers adapted to local soils and crops to supporting local production assets and improving the availability of fertilisers on the local market at competitive prices. Our partnership also included farmer support initiatives and supply chain development projects,” Dr. Jamali said.
Also, the Senior Vice President, OCP Africa, Mr. Mohamed Hettiti, who introduced the key features of the blending plant pointed out that the Kaduna Centre of Excellence has at its core a 120 metric tonnes per hour process blending plant with a dosing system capable of producing macro and micronutrients as well as a liquid dosing feature. Sitting on a 10-hectare parcel of land, this elaborate production complex consists of the production process building, administrative building, quality assurance laboratory, staff canteen, truck park, powerhouse, fire fighting and water treatment plant, weighbridge and a model farm.”
He added that, “at OCP Africa we are convinced that the efficient use of customised fertilisers is one of the best ways to increase farmers’ productivity and ensure food security. To provide these high quality fertilisers in the Nigeria agricultural space, we had, within the past six years with local partners, sponsored several research and development projects which have resulted in the formulation of bespoke fertilisers recommendation for different crop types in Nigeria.
The next big step was the need to translate the research outcomes into fertiliser products for farmers and that informed our investment to establish this ultra-modern fertiliser blending plant we are commissioning today,” Hettiti said.
It was gathered that OCP Africa, subsidiary of OCP Group – a global leader in phosphate and its derivatives – focuses on efficient use of specialty and adapted fertiliser as one of the best ways to increase farmers’ productivity and ensure food security.
The quest to stimulate agriculture throughout Nigeria had seen OCP Africa embark on two other similar projects, one in Ogun State and the other in Sokoto State. The Centre of Excellence in Ogun State would commence production in Q1 2023, while the one in Sokoto State is expected to do the same in Q2 2023.
The three blending plants would have a combined production capacity of 500,000MT per year, which is expected to lead to sufficiency in fertilisers in the domestic market with potential for export.
Deputy Managing Director, Programme Incubation (W/A), OCP Africa, Mr. Caleb Usoh, also disclosed that, “OCP Africa is also investing in a Joint Venture with NSIA to develop an Ammonia and DAP industrial plant. The $1.4 billion industrial plant project, to be cited in Akwa-Ibom State is expected to utilise Nigerian gas and Moroccan phosphate to produce 750,000MT of ammonia and 1,000,000MT of phosphate fertilisers. It should commence production in about four years’ time,” Usoh added.