Fertilizer and Food Security: Agricultural Production in Nigeria
FERTILIZER AND FOODSECURITY/AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION INNIGERIABYOSHO A. O.DIRECTOR, FEDERAL FERTILIZERDEPARTMENT,FMA&RD,ABUJA
1. Introductioni. With projected population of 160 million,Nigeria has the greatest number of peopleto feed in Africa. In terms of employment,agriculture is by far the most importantsector of the economy,engaging about70% of the labour force.ii. Agricultural sector has the highestpotential to diversify food supply andexpand foreign exchange earnings.iii. Agricultural growth has remained steadyat 6% in the last five years despite growthof the overall economy.
iv. Currently, agriculture’scontribution to totalexports has been relativelylow, between 0.5% and 2.0%over the last four years.v. Agricultural produce yieldsper hectare is 20% - 50%lower than those obtainedin similar developingcountries.
vi. Despite enormous agriculturalproduction potentials Nigeria iscurrently a net importer offood, with N1.30 trillion inwheat, rice, fish and sugarimports.vii. Fertilizer and other agric-inputsuse is very low. Fertilizer percapital consumption is 6.1 kg/haas against 18.9kg/ha for Senegal(FAO Fertilizer Statistics, 2011).
2. Fertilizer,Agricultural Productionand Food Securitya. Fertilizer,agricultural production andfood security are mutually related.b. Fertilizer along with improved seed useis the key driver to agriculturalproduction which in turn drives theattainment of food security.c. Fertilizers are critical in improvingagricultural production and foodsecurity through nutrient lossreplenishment on farmers’ fields.
d. Food security exists when all people at alltimes have access to sufficient, safe andnutritious food to maintain active healthy life(World Food Summit, 1996). UN/FAO refersfood security to the availability of food andaccessibility to it. A household is consideredfood secured when its occupants do not livein hunger or fear of starvation.e. Agricultural yields have remained the sameor declined in the past two decades. Rise inagricultural productivity is derived morefrom expanded planting areas for staplecrops than from yield increases (Dayo Philipset al,2011; IFPRI Study series, 2011).
f. The study also identified poor agriculturalpolicies,low fertilizer use,low access toagricultural credit, land tenure insecurity,land degradation, poverty and genderissues,low investment in agriculturalresearch,poor market access andmarketing efficiency as the constraints foragricultural productivity.g. Though Nigeria has proven 159 billioncubit feet of natural gas reserve (7th in theWorld) and large quantity of phosphaterock deposits,local fertilizer productionand supply is still a major constraint to
3. Pathway to Food Security AttainmentFertilizationFertilityManagementImprovedAgriculturalProductionAttainmentof FoodSecurity
• To shore up and attain foodsecurity level in Nigeria, there mustbe improvement in the agriculturalproduction system.• One key to the food securitypathway is providing farmers withaccess to quality inputs,particularlyfertilizers and the knowledge toapply them efficiently andeffectively.
•There is also the need for a concertedeffort, coordinated public-privatepartnership to achieve the scale of reformnecessary for a sustainable agriculturalgrowth.•The AgriculturalTransformation Agenda(ATA) of Mr. President seeks to addressthe above issue of PPP through theValueChain approach where in each value chainintegrates food production, processing,storage and marketing to local andinternational clientele.
4. The Role of Fertilizers• Fertilizers, along with other inputsare important contributors toraising agricultural ouput byincreasing yields and thus securingfood security.• Excess output allows farmers tofeed their families better, increasetheir income and developcommercial activities.
• Farmers need access to inputsespecially fertilizers and improvedseeds at the right time andaffordable prices.• One of the best remedies is thedevelopment of a virile network ofprivate agro-dealers, who in additionto supplying agricultural inputs canalso relay information on goodfarming practices complementingagricultural extension services.
5. Fertilizer and AgriculturalTransformation Agenda.The vision of the current AgriculturalTransformation Agenda (ATA) is to growthe agricultural sector via:-Treating agriculture as a businessAggressive job, wealth creation andensuring food securityFocusing on crops value chainsDeveloping strategic marketingpartnership
Under the ATA, many transformationalpolicies are being implemented. Theseinclude:-Fertilizer Sub-sector ReformsMarketing Institutions Reforms – re-introduction of Marketing Boards onValue Chain basis to be established andrun by the private sector but facilitatedby GovernmentFinancing AgriculturalValue Chainsthrough NIRSAL and;Agricultural Investment Framework
Key Fertilizer Sub-sector Reformsso far implemented include:-Government withdrawal fromdirect procurement anddistribution of fertilizers to thefarmers.Creation of new targeted subsidydelivery system using electronicplatform.Agro-dealer development andempowerment
In effort to address the triple issue offertilizer availability,accessibility andaffordability the Ministry introduced theGrowth Enhancement Support (GES)Scheme. GES targets the sales of 1.0 million metrictons of fertilizers (500,000 metric tons eachof NPKs and Urea) to identified andregistered bonafide 10 million farmers in2013 farming season. Fertilizer use hasincreased from 6.1kg/ha to 43 – 45.5kg/hafor farmers benefiting under GES at 2 bags(50kg each) per farmer
The target is expected to reach1.5 million metric tons offertilizers (750,000 metric tonsof NPKs and Urea) next season(2014). Since 5 million farmersare added on yearly basis to thedatabase. GES is private sector driven,with Fertilizer Companies andtheir agro-dealers as majorimplementers.
Between 2012 – 2015,GES willbe contributing to additionalannual national fertilizerconsumption by 500,000 metrictons. GES will improve farmers accessto fertilizers, fertilizer use andcrop yields for shoring-upprospects for the attainment offood security.
Word on Marble“Great food availability in the low-income,food deficit nations cannot be achievedwith one silver bullet. No doubt, greateravailability of fertilizer is critical toany solution. Yet we also need long termvision of growth, integrated investmentsthat incorporate research, human andinstitutional capacity buildinginfrastructure, sound policy, markets andgovernance”. Late Norman Borlaug(Noble Peace Price).