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The Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) has officially disclosed that it has completed the five-year long soil fertility survey and the mapping of soil fertility of Ethiopia.
Following the completion of the study conducted by the Ethiopian Soil Information System (EthioSIS), a half-day consultative forum aimed at establishing data sharing protocol was held today.
ATA Chief Executive Officer, Kalid Bomba told ENA that about 22 different soil property maps and fertilizer recommendations have been developed and handed over to Oromia, Amhara, SNNP, Tigray, and Harari regional states as well as Dire Dawa Administration.
The CEO further added fertilizer recommendation and soil fertility status maps of Benishangul-Gumuz and Gambella regions are also completed meanwhile the Afar and Somali regional states maps are under production.
The findings of the survey would help to tackle bottlenecks in the Ethiopian agricultural sector, he added.
The CEO revealed that the five-year survey has challenged the long-standing belief in Ethiopia that DAP and Urea fertilizers should exclusively and uniformly be used across the country, regardless of the type of crop type, soil types and agro-ecology.
This survey is the first initiative of its kind in Africa, employing remote sensing satellite technology and other state-of-the art techniques for soil surveying, Kalid said, adding that the findings of the survey have been attracting many global fertilizer companies to Ethiopia.
He further disclosed that the Moroccan fertilizer giant OCP Group is, for instance, progressing well with its planned close to four billion-dollar fertilizer plant in Dire Dawa, in eastern part of the country.
EthioSIS Project Team Leader, Tegibaru Belete, said on his part the soil fertility maps and fertilizer recommendations have been leading to the production of tailored fertilizers to address the nutrient deficiencies in Ethiopian agricultural soils.
With support of the recommendations of the soil fertility survey, five farmers’ cooperative unions (FCU) were selected to produce blended fertilizers in the four largest regional states at Becho-Woliso and Gibe-Dedesa FCUs in Oromia, Merkeb FCU in Amhara, Enderta FCU in Tigray, and Melke-Silte FCU in SNNP.
He added that these FCU-owned fertilizer blending facilities are leveraging the data generated to identify and produce customized blended fertilizers within Ethiopia.
Agriculture State Minister, Kaba Orgessa noted, however, that the capacity of the five existing fertilizer blending plants operating with their full capacity have not yet been sufficient to address all customized needs of the entire country.
He affirmed that the government is committed to giving all-round support for the survey and projects with their fertilizer inputs.