Reuters has reported that the federal government bought emergency supplies of Canadian potash in April following disruptions from Russia amid Western sanctions.
Potash is used primarily as an agricultural fertiliser because it is an excellent source of soluble potassium.
Quoting Uche Orji, managing director of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), Reuters reports that Nigeria bought three cargoes of Canadian potash, which should arrive within the next month.
Usually, the country takes five Russian cargoes a year.
“Russia was unable to deliver, so we bought a spot from traders in Canada. The Canadian High Commission in Nigeria helped start the conversation with producers,” Reuters quoted Orji to have said.
He, however, declined to comment on prices. But spot prices on Tuesday are up more than 250 per cent for deliveries to West Africa compared to last year.
The NSIA MD said there were ongoing discussions to see if a Russian delivery could still be possible.
According to the report, Western sanctions and self-sanctioning by many global companies and financial institutions have created chaos for anyone dealing in products of Russian origin and sent many energy and commodity prices to record highs.
Russia’s Uralkali, a major global producer of crop nutrients, has been Nigeria’s exclusive supplier since 2019.
The potash producer has not itself been targeted by sanctions so far.
But Dmitry Mazepin, a Russian businessman, left the board and cut his controlling stake in Uralchem after being hit by EU sanctions in March.
Uralchem owns the majority of Uralkali.
According to Reuters, Uralkali declined to comment. It also said the Canadian government did not have an immediate comment.
Nigeria imported about 200,000 tonnes of potash last year, one of three critical ingredients for fertiliser blending, according to the Fertiliser Producers and Suppliers Association of Nigeria (FEPSAN).
Nigeria’s raw material imports meet just under 40 per cent of its needs. The rest is sourced domestically, and local blended output was 1.5 million tonnes last year, nearly equal to domestic consumption.
“The Canadian potash will hopefully arrive just in the nick of time for the planting season, which starts as early as end-May in some parts,” Gideon Negedu, FEPSAN executive director, was quoted to have said.
He added that the association has a strategy to prioritise crops that need more potash.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently said the Russian invasion of Ukraine would lead to economic setbacks for sub-Saharan Africa, including Nigeria.
The war has triggered a sharp rise in commodity prices –straining the fiscal and external balances of commodity-importing countries and increasing food-security concerns across the region.