The moves by Governor Mohammed Abdullahi Abubakar of Bauchi State to revive the hitherto moribund Bauchi Fertilizer Company (BSFC) with the strategic injection of funds and other sound fiscal and operational policies is giving a new lease of life for the input company and farmers in the state.
Governor Abubakar had, on assumption of office, gave marching orders to members of his cabinet to prepare a blueprint for the revival of all distressed state enterprises and Bauchi Fertilizer Company was one of the very first state enterprises to benefit from the initiative.
The chairman of the company, Alhaji Bappah Aliyu Misau, revealed while receiving the governor on a visit then, that the company had been abandoned by previous governments in the state; the facilities were non-functional, the machinery idle and unused and hundreds of the company’s workers were demoralized and despondent as a result of non-payment of salaries for many years before the governor’s intervention.
Ibrahim Mohammed Gwaram, Acting General Manager of BSFC, who conducted this reporter during a tour of the company located around Railway Road, Industrial Area, Bauchi, said the governor showed the necessary political will to bring back the company as it is now performing optimally.
Presently, the BSFC plant works in three shifts of six hours each, producing 18 tonnes of fertilizer per hour.
The fertilizer business is implemented through NAIC-NPK Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA). The company is responsible for ensuring production of NPK 20:10:10, a suitable fertilizer for Nigeria’s soil mix comprised of Di-ammonium Phosphate (DAP), Muriate of Potash (MOP), Urea and Limestone granules with the last two components sources locally.
The importance of fertilizer in the overall agricultural value chain cannot be overemphasized, it is needed to replenish lost nutrients and ensure that plants have the food they need to flourish.
There are six primary nutrients that plants require. Plants get the first three-carbon, hydrogen and oxygen-from air and water. The other three are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
Commercial nutrient mixes also come in dozens of different ratios (nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium – or NPK -, which different plants require in different amounts.)
The secondary nutrients are calcium, magnesium, and sulfur. Nitrogen helps plants make the proteins they need to produce new tissues. Phosphorus stimulates root growth, helps the plant set buds and flowers, improves vitality and increases seed size.
It does this by helping transfer energy from one part of the plant to another. Potassium improves overall vigour of the plant. It helps plants make carbohydrates and provides disease resistance.
The general manager said the urea from Indorama Fertilizer Eleme plant is mixed in certain proportion at the Bauchi plant to be able to obtain the needed raw material for NPK 20:10:10.
He said there is need to expand the plant, adding that the company has the capacity as land for the expansion is available. He added that more importantly, warehouses are also needed to adequately store the produce.