By Itohan Abara-Laserian
Lagos, Sept. 14, 2021
OCP Nigeria Fertilisers, says it has partnered with Lake Chad Research Institute, Institute of Agricultural Research and Training and Bayero University Kano, on production of a special wheat fertiliser to increase food production and self-sufficiency.
Its Head of Agronomy, Dr. Donald Madueke, made this known in a statement on Tuesday in Lagos.
Madueke said that wheat production in 2020 was 55,000 metric tonnes, which according to him, was described by stakeholders as dismal to boost economic growth.
He said that OCP Nigeria/Africa, therefore, partnered the research institutes on the production of special wheat fertiliser to ensure maximum yield of crops per hectare.
Madueke said the new fertiliser formulation has been tested on some farmers’ fields in validation trials in a large number of locations.
According to him, the goal is to get farmers who plant improved wheat varieties and follow the recommended agronomic practices to harvest more tonnes per hectare in high-potential wheat growing areas.
“So far, characterising soils in wheat production belt to determine limiting nutrients based on which new fertiliser formulations are developed have taken place.
“The new specialised fertiliser, when formally launched, would reach a high number of farmers, thanks to effective teamwork among various stakeholders.
“Private companies will be invited to produce the new fertiliser formulation in order to bring the benefits to farming communities,” he said.
Madueke reiterated the organisation’s mission to support research for agricultural development.
He said the company was determined to make major contribution to the modernisation of the agricultural sector and agro-systems through improved methods and systems to boost the country’s agriculture competitiveness.
Also, Dr. Oluwasina Olabanji, Executive Director, Lake Chad Research Institute, Maiduguri in Bornu, said the goal was to enable farmers to increase yield and earn at least N400, 000 more per hectare.
Olabanji explained that Nigeria required 5.1 million metric tonnes of wheat grain annually, against the 300,000 metric tonnes currently being produced.
According to him, Nigeria spends about 4.7 billion dollars annually on wheat imports.
According to experts, “Wheat farmers in Nigeria numbered about 700,000 nationwide could begin to earn additional N400, 000 per hectare, approximately N210 billion from 2022, going by interventions introduced by OCP Fertilisers.
“It will also increase projected yield beyond 450,000 metric tonnes annually forecasted by Wheat Growers Association of Nigeria,” some experts were quoted saying in the statement.
Global wheat production is expected to reach a new record of 780 million metric tonnes in 2021, according to a preliminary forecast issued by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).