Nigeria, located in the West Africa, is a federal constitutional republic with the largest population in Africa, so Nigeria is a big agricultural country because of large quantities of people. In the meanwhile, it is the African biggest economy. Nigeria has 923,800 square kilometers of land area, of which 60 million hectares of arable land( including abandoned land).
With projected population of 160 million, Nigeria has the greatest number of people to feed in Africa. In terms of employment, agriculture is by far the most important sector of the economy, engaging about 70% of the labor force.It contributes about 40% to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and plays the significant role in the nation’s economic development.
The Current Situation and Development of Fertilizer Market in Nigeria
Fertilizer is one of the most important elements in the agricultural sector and boosts food production and development. Currently the market is low regulatory, less technologically advanced and less competitive and has good opportunities for growth in fertilizers. Agriculture is the most important economic sector in the country and more than 70% of the Nigeria’s population is dependent on this sector. Currently, agricultural land occupies the 80% of the country’s area, so there is a large demand in fertilizer.
The market for fertilizer in Nigeria is national ,expanding and sustainable. The market is second only to petroleum products in Nigeria. Various tiers of government gives great priority to it’s availability and distribution. Government has attached great importance on fertilizer, the fertilizer market is more prosperous.
Among all kinds of fertilizers, compound fertilizer is more important, because many soils require adding several essential nutrients to alleviate plant deficiencies. Compound fertilizer contains multiple nutrients in each individual granule,it can offer convenience in the field, economic savings and ease in the meeting of crop nutritional needs. All of these factors make farmers in Nigeria use compound fertilizer more.
The Production and Consumption of Compound Fertilizer in Nigeria
Fertilizer consumption rates in Nigeria remains among the lowest in the world despite decades of aggressive subsidization. According to the research, fertilizer per capital consumption is only 6.1 kg/ha. Low fertilizer use is professed to be among many reasons for low agricultural productivity in Nigeria.
For many reasons, local fertilizer production and supply is a major constraint to fertilizer use. On the One hand, the production of fertilizer is low, there is not sufficient fertilizers for farmers to use. On the other hand, the low fertilizer production leads to the high price on fertilizer, most farmers are poor, they have no enough money to buy those expensive fertilizers.
Several studies have noted that Nigeria cannot produce enough food to feed its growing population without using compound fertilizer. Though the compound fertilizer is very important for crop production, its usage is still low. Since the 1940s, Nigerian governments have generally perceived that compound fertilizer use in the country was low. By the 1960s, population density had started rising and the government became increasingly concerned about farmers’ awareness of fertilizer’s benefits. Since the 1970s,Nigerian governments have tried to stimulate compound fertilizer demand, grow the commercial fertilizer sector and lower compound fertilizer prices.
The compound fertilizer use and needs is varied across Nigeria depending on agro ecological conditions, market conditions, government policies and fertilizer responsiveness. The compound fertilizer use in the Northern states is typically higher than in the Southern states.
The Most Widely Used Compound Fertilizer Manufacturing Technology in Nigeria
Generally, there are two methods for compound fertilizer production:
With phosphoric acid and ammonia as raw materials, slurry will be neutralized by using neutralizer and tubular reactor. The coating granulation is processed in the ammoniation granulation device. In the production process, people will add some nitrogen, potassium as well as other substances, then we can get compound fertilizer through drying, screening and cooling.
The advantages of this method is that it can not only produce ammonium phosphate and NPK compound fertilizer, but also make full use of the neutralization heat of acid and ammonia, evaporate the moisture of material, reduce the granulation water content and drying load, reduce energy consumption. Moreover, it is with large production scale, low production cost and good product quality.
By using this method, the raw material is single based fertilizer, after grinding to a certain fineness, the material will be agglomeration granulated through heating and humidifying in the drum granulator or disc granulator. The granulated material will become compound fertilizer though drying, screening and cooling. The advantage of this method is that the raw material is easy to obtain, the process is relatively simple. It is also with less investment and low production cost. This method is widely used by manufactures in Nigeria.
Compound NPK Fertilizer Manufacturing Process includes:
compound fertilizer mixing process-granulation procedure-compound fertilizer drying & cooling process-compound fertilizer screening procedure-fertilizer coating process-finished products packaging.
2.1 compound fertilizer mixing
All the major plant nutrients like Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potash are mixed in different ratios to make it suitable for specific crops. Compound fertilizer raw materials required usually are Urea, DAP, TDP, SSP, MOP, Gypsum Amm. Chloride, Amm. Sulphate etc.
Taking drum granulation with ammoniation for example:
Typical raw materials are: nitric acid, ammonia, sulphuric acid, SSP (18% P2O5), TSP (45% P2O5), potash (60% P2O5). The solid raw materials are crushed and mixed together followed by the granulation step. Disc pan mixer is the most widely applied blending equipment in both mini and large compound fertilizer production plant.
2.2 pan granulation and drum granulation methods
In small scale compound fertilizer plant, producing granular compound fertilizers, there is generally used a pan granulation method comprising mixing the raw materials for the fertilizer, adding a suitable amount of water to the resulting mixture, granulating the mixture by rolling it in the pan granulator and drying the resulting granules later.
In medium and large scale compound fertilizer production, drum granulator need to be equipped. Drum granulator is designed to granulate urea and compound fertilizers. During the drum’s operation the granules or crystals of product used as seeds are introduced into the main drum. While the drum rotates the product inside the drum creates a “curtain” in its cross-section. The blades on the inner surface of the drum serve several purposes: they lift the granules or crystals, and they move the product through the granulator.
2.3 fertilizer drying and cooling process
The drying and cooling process being important steps in the processing of fertilizer.
Chemical fertilizers in granular form must have a certain percentage of moisture removed in order to be most useful. Rotary dryer is used to dry compound fertilizers with required humidity and size of the particles. The moisture content will be reduced from 5% to 30% in drying process. As for compound fertilizer cooling, heat is removed by showering the granules or pills through a cold gas, ambient or conditioned air stream flowing in either a co-current or counter-current direction.
2.4 fertilizer screening
The benefit of screening the granulated product is to obtain dry compound fertilizer granules having a desired size distribution. After screening, oversize granules are re-crushed and re-granulated. Rotary screen is used to ensure a uniform size packaging of the compound fertilizer granules.
2.5 fertilizer coating
The purpose of this process is to cover a layer on fertilizer granules surface to prevent fertilizer agglomeration. To achieve this purpose, rotary drum coating machine will be used. It adopts special liquid material spraying technology and this can enhance fertilizer efficiency.
2.6 fertilizer packaging
This is the last procedure of compound fertilizer production, the automatic quantitative fertilizer weighing packaging machine is widely used for large doses of continuous quantitative packaging for compound fertilizer in this process. It just needs two people to complete the whole packaging process, that is why it is popular in Nigeria fertilizer production.
The Import and Export of Compound Fertilizer in Nigeria
At the present, about 80% compound fertilizer in Nigeria relies on import, because of their backward technology, they barely import their compound fertilizer, Nigeria is almost a net compound fertilizer importer.
The Future Development Trend for Compound Fertilizer in Nigeria
The compound fertilizer sector is one of the fastest growing sectors worldwide and in Nigeria, it has consistent growth in the recent years. Like other developing countries in Africa, Nigeria has great compound fertilizer development potential among all kinds of fertilizers. Because with agricultural demand increasing, the compound fertilizer consumption is continuously rising. Moreover, the population in Nigeria is gradually increasing, the Nigeria government needs to develop their agriculture and increase the crop production to meet the need of food.