Seeks to supplement fertiliser exports from Russia and Ukraine.
The CEO of Dangote Industries and Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote opened his $2.6 billion fertiliser plant in Lagos Tuesday.
In attendance was the President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari who had to hurry back from his annual medical review in London to grace the event that will provide jobs for millions of Nigerians and $5 billion in export revenue once the plant becomes operational.
The commissioning of the plant comes at a critical time when the raw materials for processing the fertiliser; urea and ammonia are exported from Russia and Ukraine. Ukraine is unable to export by sea or air due to the naval and air blockade by Russia. This is where the Dangote fertiliser plant comes in, supplementing the shortfall from Ukraine.
“The price of urea has gone through the roof. People are begging us to sell.” Dangote told CNN. “We are very choosy who we sell this product to. We are loading a ship going to US, Brazil, Mexico, India… The EU are trying to buy from us,” he added.
The plant will have the capacity to produce 3 million metric tonnes making it the largest in the world. Currently Nigeria needs 1.5 metric tonnes so the excess will be exported. but over the coming years as Nigeria shifts fully to an agro economy it is estimated that farmers will need between 5 to 7 million metric tonnes annually. Dangote is the leading employer after the Federal Government.
The Russian special military operation in Ukraine has driven up prices and caused global food shortages that will likely worsen in the coming months as farmers source for fertilisers that are in short supply and Ukrainian farmers unable to harvest their crops.
“We are lucky to have this plant,” Dangote said. “It is coming at the right time with the Ukraine-Russia conflict as both Ukraine and Russia control substantial amounts of agricultural inputs …This can help a lot of African countries. The export market is a seller’s market.”
Nigerian Central Bank Governor Godwin said the plant opening was a kudos to the Buhari administration diversification of the economy. “Today, Nigeria is self-sufficient in the production of urea, and we are also the leading producer of urea in the African continent.”
President Buhari who is in his final year of administrating Nigeria said the plant will help reduce dependency on fertiliser and food imports.
“The plant is creating huge opportunities in the area of job creation, warehousing, transport and logistics. This will create significant wealth, reduce poverty, and help in securing the future of our nation.”