Aliko Dangote opens huge fertilizer factory in Nigeria as food crisis looms

The $2.5 billion urea and ammonia fertilizer plant was commissioned by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in Lagos, where Dangote is also to open a 650,000 barrel per day plant. oil refineryLater this year.

“People are begging us to sell,” he said.

“We are very picky who we sell this product to. We load a ship to the United States, Brazil, Mexico, India… The EU is trying to buy us,” he said. added.

The fertilizer plant sits on 500 hectares (1,235 acres) of land on the outskirts of Lagos and has a capacity to produce 3 million metric tons of urea per year, making it the second largest plant in the world. world, Dangote said.

Its launch comes at a critical time. The war in Ukraine has prices have gone up and caused global food shortages. Russia and Ukraine are major suppliers of urea, potash and phosphate, key components of fertilizers. These countries are also important world suppliers of wheat and other cereals.

Urea and ammonia are essential ingredients for farmers to meet their production goals and access to fertilizers has been drastically reduced, threatening the global food supply chain.

“We are lucky to have this factory,” Dangote added. “It comes at the right time with the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, because Ukraine and Russia control substantial amounts of agricultural inputs… This can help many African countries. The export market is a sellers’ market.

Rising food prices and slowing trade.  How the war in Ukraine could hit Africa

The number of people on the brink of starvation has risen from 27 million in 2019 to 44 million, the United Nations World Food Program announced this month. Parts of Africa could be plunged into famine within as little as three months if Russia’s war in Ukraine drags on, says Wandile Sihlobo, chief economist at South Africa’s Chamber of Agricultural Affairs.

“In the short term, within three months, the conflict will affect the food supply primarily from a price perspective,” Sihlobo told CNN.

Nigeria has been trying for some time to diversify its economy away from oil and Dangote estimates the plant could bring in the country $5 billion in export revenue each year.

“It’s a very big impact. It’s very big for the Nigerian economy,” Dangote told CNN.

Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele said reducing fertilizer imports was a key pillar of Buhari’s diversification program, moving the country from a net importer of the commodity to self-sufficiency.

“Indeed, over the past five years, over 35 million bags of blended fertilizer have been produced in Nigeria. As a result, our fertilizer import bill has not only come down significantly, but we are also witnessing to an increase in investments in the fertilizer industry, such as the one commissioned today by the Dangote Group,” he said during a speech at the inauguration of the plant.

Analysis: why some African countries think twice before calling Putin

“Today, Nigeria is self-sufficient in urea production, and we are also the largest urea producer on the African continent.

Speaking at the event, Buhari said the plant would help Nigeria end its dependence on food imports.

“The plant creates huge opportunities in the area of ​​job creation, warehousing, transportation and logistics. It will create significant wealth, reduce poverty and help secure the future of our nation. .”

The Dangote Group is the second largest employer in Nigeria after the federal government.

Comments are closed.