The Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development – Chief Audu Ogbeh has threatened to shut down any fertiliser plant that denies local farmers access, while exporting the same commodities. The minister made this known following allegations that one of the two big urea plants in Nigeria is producing for export while selling to Nigerian farmers at skyrocketed prices, making affordability and accessibility difficult.
“Two urea plants are big enough to run the Nigerian demands. We know their capacities. But where there are allegations that some people are exporting instead of putting in the Nigerian market, and prices shot to N10,000 per bag of urea, we became extremely angry with them. Thank God now, many of them have started producing and putting into the market. The price is already dropping,” Chief Ogbeh observed.
“But, we are warning against the future. There can’t be any priority but the Nigerian market. If there is a surplus, they are free to export. But, unless and until there is a surplus, we can’t sit by and watch people selling fertiliser beyond the shores of Nigeria when the local farmers have nothing to buy. And we are saying the same to others. The priority is the Nigerian market.”
According to the minister, “Nigeria is a good market for fertilizers, therefore there is no reason to side-track this market and create difficulties for farmers. The government is giving every support it can to people who want to manufacture locally; and we will always give. So, we need absolute cooperation from all of them.”
Chief Ogbeh disclosed that the company in question had apologized, explaining that they had some difficulties with their bagging machines, which the Minister described as rather unlikely and directed them to ensure that priority is placed on the local market.