The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has awarded a loan worth sh1 billion to Fertiplant East Africa Limited to construct sub Saharan Africa’s second fertilizer granulation plant in Nakuru. The plant is expected to have an annual capacity of 100,000 metric tonnes and will offer employment to over 100 people.
Titus Gitau, Executive Director at Fertiplant East Africa Limited said once completed the plant will boost crop yields. He added that it will also help in closing the gap between actual and attainable yields which can be achieved by the implementation and advancement of various practices and technologies, including mechanization, seed development and fertilizer technologies.
Hans Peter Lankes, IFC’s Vice President for Development Economics, said that the investment is part of IFC’s strategy to promote the development and competitiveness of East Africa’s agricultural sector.
“Responsible fertilizer companies like Fertiplant can support farmers create jobs and increase food security in the region,” he said.
According to Mr. Gitau, fertilizer plays a very critical role in food security. When all factors are held constant high yields of up to 40 bags of maize per/ha are possible locally by adopting the 4R principles – right nutrient source at the right rate, right time and right place; all of which are primarily informed through soil testing.
Set to be operational by end of 2017, it will employ the latest in steam granulation technology that will allow for the plant to produce designer and tailor-made fertilizer combinations that directly address soil nutrient deficiencies and crops nutrient needs. The plant will start producing specialty fertilizer blends for tea, coffee, potatoes and maize tailored for different regions in Kenyan, Ugandan, Rwandese, Tanzanian and Burundian markets.
Besides producing precision fertilizer, the company promises to significantly reduce fertilizer prices as it will be using cheaper unprocessed raw materials. The company was awarded a Vision 2030 flagship status in June 2016.
“Before you apply fertilizer or grow your crops, you must first understand your soils nutrient composition and the nutritional demands of the crops you will plant,” Mr. Gitau advises
Fertiplant is East Africa’s first fertilizer granulation plant. It is a sister company to Mea Fertilizers, Kenya’s largest and oldest private fertilizer blender and seller.
By understanding soil fertility which is the soil’s reserve of crop nutrients that is broadly equated with soil quality and soil health, a farmer then can get a blend or tailor-made fertilizer. This will address the nutrient deficiencies of their soil and nutritional requirements of the plant they are growing. Studies on correct and efficient usage of fertilizer and other farm inputs have shown between 50-120 per cent increases in yields per acre when all other factors are held constant.