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UPDATE 2-Nigeria to import potash from Russia, Canada -sovereign fund head

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(Adds further quotes, background)

By Felix Onuah

ABUJA, May 26 (Reuters) - Nigeria plans to import 105,000 tonnes of potash from Russia and Canada to ensure to help avert any shortfall in output from its fertiliser plants, the head of the country's sovereign wealth fund said on Thursday.

Uche Orji, the head of Nigeria's Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), said Nigeria could import potash from Russia despite the ongoing war because "fertiliser is excluded from the ban in terms of doing business with Russia."

Western sanctions were imposed on Russia due to its invasion of Ukraine in February.

In April, Nigeria bought emergency supplies of Canadian potash after Russia was unable to deliver due to the Western sanctions.

The NSIA negotiates imports of raw fertilizer materials like potash as part of the Nigerian government's programme to develop its capacity to produce blended fertiliser.

"We have a total of 105,000 metric tonnes of potash coming into the country. Subsequently more supplies will come from Russia because it saves us time for the vessels to come in than from central Canada," Orji said.

Nigeria plans to buy 35,000 tonnes from Russia with a June 3 delivery date. The rest is due to come from Canada on June 6, Orji said.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said earlier this month that global food security problem could not be solved without restoring Ukrainian agricultural production and Russian food and fertiliser output to the world market.

Nigeria has for years been battling double-digit inflation, which quickened to 16.83% last month, and its population of 200 million will face even higher food costs this year and the next as the agricultural sector passes on the higher costs of imported wheat, diesel and fertiliser. (Reporting by Felix Onuah Writing by Chijioke Ohuocha Editing by James Macharia Chege and David Evans)