Ethiopia building 5 fertilizer plants

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Addis Ababa, 17 April 2014 (WIC) – Ethiopia is currently building five fertilizer plants at a total cost of over $2.8 billion, the Ministry of Industry said Wednesday.
"Each of the plants will have the capacity to manufacture 300,000 tons of fertilizer annually," the ministry's corporate communication director, Melaku Taye, told Anadolu Agency, noting that all five facilities were located in Yayu, some 330km west of Addis Ababa.
"The country spends more than $103.3 million on fertilizer imports on average a year," he noted. "The factories, expected to begin production in 2017, will also enable some import substitution, thereby alleviating congestion of import items at ports."
According to Taye, the Yayu area was selected to host the plants due to the presence of the coal resources and raw materials needed to manufacture the fertilizers.
"Investment in fertilizer manufacturing is a new sector that the government is taking the lead in. Hopefully, the private sector will follow," the official said.
Melaku said fertilizers were key to revitalizing Ethiopia's agricultural sector, which is the main contributor to national economic growth.
In Ethiopia, an agrarian country, a total of 16 million hectares of land are used for agricultural purposes. An estimated 12 million hectares of the total area are used for growing food grains, he said.
The state-owned Ethiopian Metal and Engineering Corporation is leading the construction process, Taye noted.
The manufacturing sector has contributed to Ethiopia's economic growth over the last three years, he added, noting that the sector had contributed 18 percent to national economic growth last year and was expected to grow by between 21 and 23 percent this year. (