By Henok Reta
Port Sudan excluded.
The Ethiopian Conformity Assessment Enterprise (ECASE) has started inspection of fertilizers at the Port of Djibouti.
General manager of the Enterprise, Teshale Belihu, said that the inspection is primarily done on Urea and NPS (Nitrogen Potassium, Sulfur) fertilizers. Agricultural Input Supply Enterprise (AISE) is the major body that ordered the inspection since it is the sole importer of the agricultural inputs.
According to Teshale, the enterprise has been conducting inspection only at the Port of Djibouti which unloads 894,039 tons of fertilizer. Amarech Bekele, communications director of AISE said that the fertilizers are mainly purchased from the Norway-based Yara while the rest are imported from Witraco, Helm AG and India Agro. “Yara supplies 371,500 tons of NPS and 200,000 tons of Urea while the rest are supplied by other companies,” Amarech told The Reporter. It has been three months since a memorandum of understanding was signed between the two enterprises for the inspection to be carried out at the Port of Djibouti.
Nevertheless, Port Sudan that expects some 50,000 tons of fertilizer from Witraco and the Hamburg-based Helm AG has been excluded from the inspection by ECAE. “We are not responsible for that. It’s excluded in the agreement,” Teshale told The Reporter. According to Amarech, Port Sudan has been excluded for the time being and it will be transferred to the ECAE or another enterprise. “Since the majority of fertilizer import is via Port Djibouti our focus will be there,” she said.
ECAE is an impartial public enterprise that involves in product inspection, certification and accreditation since 2011. It launched 9000 standards of which more than 160 are compulsory Ethiopian standards to be applicable in food and food item production. And inspecting the agricultural inputs and fertilizers falls under these compulsory specifications, Teshale said.
The government has reportedly paid USD 431.9 million to purchase the fertilizers and is constructing four fertilizer factories in Tigray, Amhara, Oromia and the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ regional states to produce some 30,000 tones of fertilizer annually. AISE, a public enterprise, was established in 1985 to purchase and import fertilizer, farming chemical, seeds, medicines and vaccines under its accountability to the Ministry of Agriculture.
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