The Ebonyi State Government, south east Nigeria, has commenced the construction and installation of plant machinery and equipment towards enhancing the production capacity of the State-owned Ebonyi Fertilizer and Chemical Company Limited in order to take advantage of the soaring demands for various blends of NPK fertilizer produced in the country.
Construction work has already reached advanced stages at the new site, located behind the existing plant complex along the Abakaliki-Ogoja highway of the state capital, with the plants and machinery installations expected to be completed soon.
When completed, the new plant will add a production capacity of 40 metric tonnes of blended NPK fertilizer per hour to the existing plant, built in 2004, and which has a capacity of 32 metric tonnes per hour.
According to a statement from the General Manager of the company, Prof Ogbonnaya Chukwu, the State Government, under the leadership of Governor David Umahi, envisioned that the expanded capacity of the plant will place the company in good stead to meet the growing fertilizer needs of the state as well as those of the neighouring south-east and south-south states.
Prof Chukwu, who also doubles as the Senior Special Assistant to the State Governor on Investment, commended the Federal Government for the vision behind the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative, saying farmers in the state have benefitted immensely from the programme, which has made possible and easy for fertilizer blends to be delivered on time and at affordable prices.
“I think Ebonyi State Fertilizer and Chemical Company Limited is one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative. The intervention by PFI has helped us to up our game in terms of employment generation and service delivery. Farmers in the State now get very high quality fertilizers early and that was largely responsible for the high volume of rice produced in the state in 2017,” he stated.
The Agricultural Engineering professor also stated that the company, which produces all the different blends of the multi-nutrient NPK fertilizer, has also made it possible for farmers in neighbouring states of Enugu, Anambra, Imo, Delta and Cross River States to purchase the appropriate fertilizer blends relevant for different crop types much more conveniently, adding that, with the new plant, scarcity of fertilizer in many of the south-east and south-south states would be a thing of the past.
He revealed that the PFI has also been critical to the revival of the old plant built by the state in 2004, saying it was through the initiative that all the disused equipment in the hitherto moribund plant was sourced and replaced at much more affordable costs.
“By the time we were about to start last year, we realized that our conveyor chain on our old plant had been broken and it had not been replaced since 2004. That replacement was made possible by the fact that we participated in the PFI. And through the help of some members of FEPSAN it was possible to even achieve that at a significantly lower cost,” he revealed.
He thanked the State Governor for his vision in keying into the PFI initiative, saying farmers in the state have had no reason to complain of unavailability or high cost of fertilizer since the plant was revived early in 2017.
He said Governor Umahi has designed a scheme that ensures that fertilizers produced in the plant are distributed to all the council wards in the state to ease transportation costs for both large and small unit farmers and also ensuring that every farmer gets fertilizers at the official price of N5,500 for a 50 kilogramme bag.
The Ebonyi State Fertilizer and Chemical Company Limited is one of the leading fertilizer blending plants in Nigeria. Established in 2004, the plant serves more of a fertilizer aggregation and distribution company until 2017 when the moribund plant was revived under the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative programme of the Federal Government.
Its aim is to pilot the State Government’s strategies to fight poverty and hunger through increase in food production, attracting investors and enhancing overall agricultural development in the State.