Nigeria plans to become a net exporter of fertilizer after commissioning the world’s second-biggest urea plant.
The 3 million-ton facility near Lagos, the commercial hub, adds to existing output of 3.1 million tons in the West African nation, according to the central bank. The biggest plant of its kind in Africa, owned by billionaire businessman Aliko Dangote, is already shipping to the U.S., India, and Brazil.
“This fertilizer plant is expected to further advance our administration’s drive toward achieving self-sufficiency in food production in the country,” President Muhammadu Buhari said at a ceremony in Lagos on Tuesday. “The nation also stands to gain extensively in earnings of foreign-exchange from the excess production and exports from the plant.”
The commissioning of the plant comes as prices for crop nutrients surge because Russia’s war with Ukraine has put a massive portion of the world’s fertilizer supply at risk.
The urea plant supports Nigeria’s efforts to diversify its economy and reduce its vulnerability to the price and output of oil that accounts for the bulk of the nation’s exports. While Nigeria is estimated to have the capacity to consume as much as 7 million tons of fertilizer a year, current consumption is only about 1.5 million tons.
The plant is owned by Dangote, Africa’s richest person, who is investing $19 billion in projects on the continent including the fertilizer plant and a 650,000 barrel-per-day oil refinery outside Lagos. The refinery, which is expected to be completed in September, will supply domestic consumers and markets elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa.