Kenya signs deal to manufacture affordable fertiliser by 2025

President William Ruto

President William Ruto (left) when he witnessed signing of the deal in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

Photo credit: Courtesy | PCS

Kenya has signed a deal with a multinational to establish a fertiliser plant as President William Ruto’s administration steps up efforts to ensure supply of the input to farmers.

The deal with Fortescue Future Industries (FFI), an Australian based company that has developed a portfolio in renewable energy and green hydrogen projects, was signed on the side-lines of the United Nations Climate Change COP 27 meeting in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

According to President Ruto who, alongside FFI executive chairman Dr Andrew Forrest, oversaw the signing of the agreement where the company will for a three-year period collaborate with the Kenyan government to build a 300MW capacity green ammonia and a green fertiliser facility.

“Today marks the beginning of what we all believe will be a long and fruitful partnership between Kenya and FFI. I was elected on a platform of creating opportunities for local industries, local businesses and communities.

“This agreement will help to achieve that and help to support further economic and infrastructure development in Kenya,” said President Ruto.

The President believes the move is not only expected to boost the development of green fertilizer thus enhance food production but also help Kenya's transition to green energy.

“In a major effort to replace imported polluting fertiliser, the Government of Kenya and Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) today signed a binding Framework Agreement on the sidelines of COP27, witnessed by the President of Kenya HE Dr. William Ruto CGH and Executive Chairman of Fortescue Dr Andrew Forrest,” FFI stated in an official statement sent to the Nation.

“The parties intend that this will be followed by the development of two further projects that would scale up renewable electricity generation for green industries by up to 25GW, to produce up to 1.7 million tonnes of green hydrogen per year for export.

“The Kenyan President and Fortescue Executive Chairman first discussed the agreement during their meeting at the UN General Assembly in New York in September,” said FFI while explaining that this will provide affordable green fertiliser to the domestic market and address food security, while alsonegating the need for importing fertiliser.

Green industrial facilities

According to FFI, the agreement will entrench her commitment to fast-track significant investment to develop green industrial facilities in Naivasha, Mombasa and Lamu, creating thousands of new jobs and delivering significant manufacturing and industrial development to Kenya.

President Ruto expressed confidence that the company will deliver.

“There is nowhere more important for us to mark the public beginning of this relationship than here in Sharm El-Sheikh, on the opening day of COP27 where we want to see action, not words.

“We are committed to Kenya being a leader of renewable energy in Africa, we look forward to partnering with FFI to accelerate the global energy transition for the benefit of the continent,” said Dr Ruto.

On the other hand, Dr Forrest was also elated at the new deal.

“Current ammonia and fertiliser production relies almost exclusively on fossil fuels and results in considerable CO2 emissions. By stepping away from fossil fuels to use green ammonia, Kenya can eliminate its reliance on imports, reduce the cost of fertiliser and increase its food and economic security,” he said.

“Today’s agreement sets Kenya on a path to industrial decarbonisation and we are committed to walk with Kenya on that journey every step of the way.”

This story was produced as part of the 2022 Climate Change Media Partnership, a journalism fellowship organized by Internews' Earth Journalism Network and the Stanley Center for Peace and Security.