Nigeria Risks Shortage of Fertilisers as EU Frustrates Supply
By Adedapo Adesanya
Nigeria faces a crippling fertiliser shortage as 34,000 metric tonnes of Russian Fertiliser meant for Nigeria is stuck at ports in the European Union (EU) as a result of continued war in Ukraine.
Russia’s Foreign Minister, Mr Sergey Lavrov, confirmed this development on Saturday at the 78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, noting that 260,000 metric tonnes of Russian fertilisers have been stranded in EU ports since 2022.
According to Russian News Agency, TASS, Mr Lavrov informed reporters that, “We are ready to give these fertilisers to African countries for free. It took six months to deliver the first batch of 20,000 tonnes to Malawi, and another three months to take another 30,000 tonnes to Kenya.”
TASS quoted him as saying that “we also have 34,000 tonnes for Nigeria, but have so far been unable to send it.”
The 34,000 metric tonnes is the equivalent of 34 million kilogrammes or 680,000 units of 50kg bags of fertiliser.
“Since the European Commission is wasting tens of billions of dollars on Ukraine, it can buy the grain that Ukraine wants to sell and EU countries don’t want [to buy] for reasons of competitiveness, and send it to Africa,” he further said.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine since February 2022 has increased global food prices as well as the prices of commodities such as fertiliser. Russia and Ukraine together supply about 30 per cent of global wheat exports and around a fifth of the world’s maize.
For Nigeria, the price of fertiliser tripled as a result of the war since the country imports Muriate of Potash (MOP), one of the major raw materials used for blending the farm inputs, from Russia and has been unable to do so as a result of sanctions imposed on Russia.
According to the envoy, Russia left the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which had allowed the safe passage of Ukrainian agricultural exports, because promises made to Russia had not been fulfilled.
He said the latest UN proposals to revive that export corridor also were “simply not realistic.”
Mr Lavrov also lashed out at “the US and its subordinate Western collective,” for stoking conflicts “which artificially divide humanity into hostile blocks and hamper the achievement of overall aims. They’re doing everything they can to prevent the formation of a genuine multipolar world order,” he said.
After Russia blocked traditional export sea passages, the EU lifted duties on Ukrainian grain to facilitate its transport to Africa and the Middle East.
Grain has since flowed into Poland, but much of it has not travelled further on to the Middle East and Northern Africa, as it was meant to under the EU plan.