The production of locally-blended fertiliser has this year saved the Federal Government about $150 million (equivalent of N52 billion) hitherto spent on foreign exchange as well as N60 billion in budgetary provisions for fertiliser subsidy.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu disclosed this at the weekend on Hannu Ya Dawa, an audience participation programme on FRCN Kaduna.

Shehu also said the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI) would, before the end of the year, deliver four million bags of 50kg Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium (NPK) fertiliser to farmers at an affordable price.

He said the 11 fertilizer blending plants in the country would be increased to 18 by the end of the year and would provide direct employment to no fewer than 50,000 Nigerians.

According to him, the projected delivery of the commodity (4 million bags of fertilizer) by December is in addition to the six million bags of 50kg fertilizers already sold to farmers since the Initiative commenced early this year.

‘‘The problem of the shortage of fertilizers and its attendant high cost plaguing the nation’s agricultural production, seemingly intractable for decades, have been resolved following the successful execution of the mandate of the PFI.

‘‘Since the implementation of the Initiative, the six million 50kg bags of NPK fertilizers were purchased by State governments and agro-dealers across the country,’’ he said.

Shehu noted that the successful implementation of the PFI had made fertilizer available to Nigerian farmers at affordable prices and in time for the 2017 wet season farming.

‘‘Last year, Daily Trust newspaper reported that a bag of 50kg NPK fertilizer was sold at N10, 900 in Benue State. Today the same commodity is being sold at about N6, 500 in different locations across the country, while the government-approved price is N5, 500,” he said.

The presidential spokesman said a bag of maize which was sold at N21, 000 last year was currently being sold at an average of N10, 000.

‘‘This is an indication that the Initiative has enhanced food security as a result of the increase in food production. There is also a reduction in food-induced inflation while economic activities across the agriculture value chain are very impressive,’’ he said.