Ministry Requests Urgent $251m Loan


The loan was delayed due to the shortage of foreign currency




The Ministry of Agriculture & Natural Resources has requested an urgent 251 million dollars loan from the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE), which will be used for the purchase of agricultural inputs.

The money was part of the Ministry’s loan request of 651 million dollars last fiscal year. From the requested amount, 400 million dollars was granted and dispatched to four main input user regional states; Oromia, Amhara, Southern Nations Nationalities and People (SNNP) and Tigray. And the Agricultural Works Corporation.

“We wrote a letter to NBE to approve the loan of 163 million dollars last month, but there has not been any progress yet,” said Seifu Assefa, directors of the Input Marketing at the Ministry. “In the second letter which was sent to NBE, we requested 251 million dollars which is the remainder of the 651 million dollars requested last year.”

The reason for the delay is a shortage of foreign currency, according to Seifu. This has also hit businesses and investments in the country.

The delay in making a decision by the National Bank affected the timely delivery of fertiliser to farmers and the productivity of the farms.

The country has planned to produce 40 million tonnes of grains by the end of the second edition of the growth and transformation plan in 2020. At the moment, Ethiopia has the capacity to produce 31 million tonnes of grains.

Out of the requested budget, 80pc will be for fertiliser and the remainder for seeds and agricultural chemicals. The Ministry has planned to purchase 1.1 million metric tonnes of fertiliser, which will be mainly distributed to the four main consumer regional states. The distribution is based on types of fertilisers requested.

The agricultural chemicals include herbicides, and post-harvest treatment chemicals, which could increase productivity. Hybrid seeds include wheat, corn, teff and sorghum.

Amhara Regional State is expecting the highest of all, which is 311,535 metric tonnes of fertiliser. While Oromia, SNNP, Tigray and Agricultural Works Corporation will get 277,000, 185,445 and 128,797 metric tonnes, respectively.

Last year, the consumption of fertiliser was about 816,200, which is almost two times higher than four years ago. This is expected to surpass one million tonnes in the coming year. The country is working on building fertiliser factories to produce import replacements and save foreign currency.

Currently, there are five fertiliser blending factories that are under construction in Oromia, SNNP, Amhara and Tigray regional states. The government is also undertaking a construction of fertiliser producing plants in Western Shewa and in Dire Dawa, in cooperation with the government of Morocco.



By BEYENE WOLDE
FORTUNE STAFF WRITER

Published on Apr 01,2017 [ Vol 17 ,No 882]


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