Low fertilizer use is professed to be among the many reasons for low agricultural productivity in Nigeria. Fertilizer application, estimated at 13 kg/ha in 2009 by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, is far lower than the 200 kg/ha recommended by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). This report reviews the status of the fertilizer sector in Nigeria on the basis of a thorough overview of existing literature on Nigeria, reports on recent survey results, and analytic work conducted by IFPRI in Nigeria under the Global Food Security Response (GFSR) initiative of the USAID. It synthesizes the findings on key fertilizer issues in Nigeria, focusing on the demand and supply environment, the role played by subsidies, the regulatory environment, and the use of the vouchers system to aid fertilizer distribution. A key finding is that the heavy emphasis on price subsidization to the detriment of other approaches, such as complementary actions to improve farmers’ fertilizer-use techniques, has hampered market development. Three policy recommendations arise from this report. First, the initial step the government should take should be to eliminate the existence of dual fertilizer markets by establishing the primal role of the private sector in fertilizer production, procurement and distribution. Second, the government should seek policy stability by reducing the frequency of government intervention in preference to building capacity in the private sector to handle all levels of the fertilizer value chain activities. Finally, it should provide a clear assignment of monitoring and regulatory roles, which are needed at every stage of fertilizer production (including blending) and distribution with a broader reach of regulatory activities at peri-urban and rural markets.
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)