- Saturday, 16 February 2013 06:48
- By MERGA YONAS
By Merga Yonas
Allana Potash Corp., a Canada-based company working on the acquisition and development of potash assets around the world introduced a potassium fertilizer to the Ethiopian agricultural sector.
To promote the use of potash fertilizer, a potassium rich mineral salt, to the Ethiopian agricultural sector, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Corporation and the Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) on Tuesday at MN International Hotel.
The three year agreement made between ATA and the Allana Potash, which is valued at USD 800,000 was meant to “facilitate trials and popularization of potassium fertilizers” throughout Ethiopia's agricultural sector.
During the signing ceremony, Khalid Bomba, CEO of the Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency, said “providing and popularizing a full range of soil nutrients to Ethiopia's small-holder farmers is essential to helping them realize the full production and profit potential from their farming lands.” As part of this objective, Khalid said that partnering with Allana is an ideal way to introduce and promote the benefits of potassium fertilizers among Ethiopia's smallholders.
“A strong agricultural economy is a critical step in creating a robust national economy, one that Allana Potash considers vital to its future, Farhad Abasov, President and CEO of Allana Potash Corp. said.
Mark Stauffer, Allana's Chair and the former President of the Potash and Phosphate Institute of Canada, will lead the initiative with ATA on Allana's behalf."
To help Ethiopia's smallholder farmers in increasing their crop production, the ATA is facilitating a variety of soil-related interventions in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) and the Regional Bureaus of Agriculture.
Some of these interventions include a geo-statistical soil fertility mapping of the agricultural land in the country, recommending relevant fertilizer applications for each local woreda, and the development of fertilizer blending facilities in key regions throughout the country.
These local blending plants were said to make an expanded range of soil nutrients available to farmers in field-level quantities, customized to their specific soil types, crops, and agro-ecologies. As potassium is one of the vital crop nutrients to be supplied through these new fertilizer blending facilities, Allana is partnering with the ATA to demonstrate, through a series of systematic local balanced fertilizer field trails, the important role of potash fertilizer to farmers, in blends or as straight fertilizers.
Historically, Ethiopian farmers for years have relied on only two fertilizers, DAP and Urea, as nutrient content for soil. A standard application, 100kg of DAP and 100kg of Urea has traditionally been recommended across Ethiopia for all crops and soil types.
However, experts argue that this recommendation fails to take into account the current fertility status of a soil, or what a specific crop needs. Since only DAP and Urea fertilizers are commercially available, their positive effect of stimulating crop growth also increases the rate of draw-downs of native soil fertility, including potassium, thereby reducing native soil fertility levels of essential nutrients not supplied by fertilization.