Urea and ammonia are essential ingredients for farmers to meet production targets and access to fertilizer has been reduced significantly, threatening the global food supply chain.
"We are lucky to have this plant," Dangote added. "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 growing population of people plunging into famine
The export market is a seller's market."The number of people on the edge of famine has jumped to 44 million from 27 million in 2019, the UN's World Food Programme said this month. Parts of Africa could be plunged into hunger in as little as three months if Russia's war in Ukraine drags on, says Wandile Sihlobo, chief economist of the Agricultural Business Chamber of South Africa.
"In the short term, between now and three months, the conflict will affect food supply primarily from a pricing perspective," according to Sihlobo.
Nigeria has been trying to diversify its economy away from oil for some time and Dangote believes that the plant could earn the country $5 billion in export revenue each year.
"This is a very huge impact. It is very significant for Nigeria's economy," Dangote told CNN. Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele said reducing fertilizer imports was a key pillar in Buhari's diversification agenda, taking the country from being a net importer of the commodity to self-sufficiency.
"Indeed, during the past five years, over 35 million bags of blended fertilizer has been produced in Nigeria. Consequently, our import bill on fertilizer has not only declined significantly but we are also witnessing rising investment in the fertilizer industry, such as the one being commissioned today by the Dangote Group," he said during a speech at the inauguration of the plant.
Nigeria leading producer of Urea in Africa
"Today, Nigeria is self-sufficient in the production of urea, and we are also the leading producer of urea in the African continent. Speaking at the event, Buhari said the plant would help Nigeria end dependency on 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."
The Dangote Group is the second largest employer in Nigeria after the federal government.
IMAGE SOURCE: PIXABAY