04 food supply shortage
Global food shortage and higher prices may result from war in Ukraine
05:40 - Source: CNNBusiness
Lagos, Nigeria CNN Business  — 

Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote opened the continent’s largest fertilizer plant this week as war in Ukraine cuts off supplies from Russia, threatening a global food crisis.

The $2.5 billion urea and ammonia fertilizer plant was commissioned by Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari in Lagos, where Dangote is also due to open a 650,000 barrels per day oil refinery, later this year.

Dangote told CNN Tuesday that the urea market had “gone through the roof.”

“People are begging us to sell,” he said.

“We are very choosy who we sell this product to. We are loading a ship going to US, Brazil, Mexico, India… The EU are trying to buy from us,” he added.

The fertilizer factory sits on 500 hectares (1,235 acres) of land on the outskirts of Lagos and has a capacity to produce 3 million metric tons of urea yearly, making it the second largest plant in the world, Dangote said.

Workers walk past the newly inaugurated Dangote fertilizer plant in Lagos, Nigeria.

Its launch comes at a critical time. The war in Ukraine has driven up prices and caused global food shortages. Russia and Ukraine are major suppliers of urea, potash and phosphate, key components of fertilizers. The countries are also major global suppliers of wheat and other grains.

Urea and ammonia are essential ingredients for farmers to meet production targets and access to fertilizer has been reduced significantly, threatening the global food supply chain.

“We are lucky to have this plant,” Dangote added. “It is coming at the right time with the Ukraine-Russia conflict as both Ukraine and Russia control substantial amounts of agricultural inputs …This can help a lot of African countries. The export market is a seller’s market.”