MPs urge fertilizer plants recommence production
The Agriculture Affairs Standing Committee of the House of People’s Representatives (HPR) on Wednesday urged the Agriculture Input Corporation and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fishery to find ways that would enable the existing fertilizer blending factories in the country resume production as soon as possible.
During a stakeholder’s meeting held at the parliament, the standing committee noted that the factories should have not been out of service for this long and are still required to help in the country’s agricultural production.
During the consultative session, the standing committee heard a report by the Ministry of Agriculture regarding the Ministry’s undertakings in order to address the major challenges that kept the fertilizer factories out of operation.
The report highlighted the plan to conduct a proper study to identify the state of chemical fertilizers accumulated in the factories, as well as those in the Agricultural Input Corporation warehouses while disposing the obsolete potash fertilizer that cannot be utilized.
However, the standing committee dismissed the report, saying that the study to find a solution to the problem said is still ongoing and could not bring an immediate remedy considering the extent of the challenges and the need for urgency to resolve it.
The committee highlighted the factories’ non-operational activities as being a factor that contributed to a loss for the country. Furthermore, it accumulates expenses in terms of warehouse rent, bank interest, employee wages and other unnecessary expenditures.
“These outstanding issues should be resolved immediately,” the committee said.
In addition, it has also called for both institutes (the ministry and corporation) to discuss and find ways that would enable the agricultural sector push forward while halting unregulated government spending.
Representing the ministry, Eyassu Abrha (PhD), on his part, explained the complexity of the challenges on fertilizer production, distribution and the short-term actions taken to address the challenges. He also noted that suspected individuals related to purchase bids and distribution will face justice for abuse of power and mismanagement of resources. However, he did not name those individuals responsible.
Almaz Melese, chairwoman of the standing committee, on her part, told officials of the corporation and the ministry to stop relying on the Moroccan company (OCP) which is expected to enter into the sector in the future. She urged them to take immediate actions by their side on those stocks required to be disposed of.