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Ethiopia is going to buy more than 600 thousand metric tons of fertilizer after a month. However, that is down from what it bought last year. The country imported 900 thousand tons of Dap and Urea last year according to Teshome Lakew, Director of Agricultural Input Supply of the Ministry of Agriculture.
“We are doing a fertilizer needs assessment of Regional States. That will be completed in the coming two weeks. The tentative assessment estimates we have are around 600 thousand metric tons of fertilizer both Urea and Dap. Judging from past experience, the need for fertilizer may increase the final need assessment of regional states once completed. Last year, the countries imported 900 thousand metric tons of fertilizer,” the director told Capital on phone. “The auction process takes only 25 days. But the process of importing the fertilizer consumes the whole year once the deal is sealed. The last batch of the imported fertilizer reaches the country in June,” he added.
Ethiopia harvested more than 218 million quintals of crops last year of which 188 are considered major crops that includes teff, wheat, maize, sorghum, barely and the like while the remaining balance goes to oil seeds, up from the 205 million quintals the previous year. This is a productivity level of 18.5 quintals per hectare. This level of production is in short of the international 2,100 kilo calorie food intake an individual needs to consume per annum in order to be declared food self sufficient. That translates to 2.5 quintals of cereals per individual while the current crop production stands around 2.2 quintals.
Currently, more than 12.8 million hectares of land is under cultivation.
When the soil fertility mapping currently underway by Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency completed so that which land needs what type of fertilizer in what quaintly is identified, it is hoped that the current productivity level will increase dramatically and the country will be food self sufficient. This will be augmented by fertilizer production in the country.
Ethiopia’s fertilizer consumption continues to swell over the years against the ever increasing international fertilizer price following the country’s determination to be food self sufficient with in the coming three years. That is why the country embarked on building its first fertilizer factory in history in Yayu werada, Illubabor zone, Oromia Regional State, 625Km West of Addis Ababa at a cost of close to 800 million birr.
The first phase of the construction of Yayo Fertilizer Factory owned by the Ethiopian Metal and Engineering Corporation (MetEC), a state owned engineering complex, is completed four months ahead of schedule. Back in March, MetEC awarded the construction of the first fertilizer factory in the country to Tekelbirhan Ambay Construction Plc at a cost of 792 million birr.
The 12 million birr study by COMPLANT, a firm that studied the potential of Yayo, reported that around 100 million tons of coal was found in Yayo area. It estimated that the coal deposit in the area has the potential to produce 300,000 tons of Urea, 250,000 tons of Dap, 20,000 tons of ethanol and 90MW of electric power annually for decades.