Gov’t to pay over 200 million birr for cooperative unions

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The government is to pay over 200 million birr to cooperative unions as compensation for the non essential purchase of over 271 quintals of fertilizers used as inputs for Blending Plants.
Back in 2015, what was known as the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) and the Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA), together with four cooperative unions located in four regional states constructed four fertilizer blending factories to supply specific fertilizer mix based on their soil type for specific areas.
“The blending factories are meant to increase the production and productivity of the farmers in the country through the supply of appropriate fertilizer to the soils,” said Ousman Surur Director of the Federal Cooperative Agency.
The Ministry and the ATA found out that sulfur, potassium, boron and zinc nutrients are deficient in many areas which indicated that one compound fertilizer NPS and five blended fertilizers namely NPSB, NPKSB, NPSZnB, NPKSZnB, and NPSZn are needed to address the key nutrient deficiencies in the tested soils according to ATA’s 2013/14 report.
According to the3 agency, Gibe Dedessa and Becho Weliso Farmers’ Cooperative Union in Oromia Regional states registered success at least in small scale for the first batch of production.
The cooperative union encountered failure when the Ministry of Agriculture and Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) purchased non-essential fertilizers of Boron, Zinc and potash amounting to 271,680 quintals of fertilizer.
“The blending factory quit producing as the result of unspecified fertilizers purchased as an input,” he adds.
As a result the five cooperative unions Merkeb Cooperative Union in Amhara Region, Enderta Multipurpose Farmers’ Cooperative Union in Tigray Region and Melek Silte in Southern Nations, Nationalities & Peoples Region (SNNPR), Gibe Dedessa and Becho Weliso Farmers’ Cooperative Union in Oromia region have lost a total of over 200 hundred million birr for administrative expenses, rent for warehouses, bank interest and damage to the plant.
According to the Agency, the government is to pay nearly 252.7 million birr to the cooperatives based on the report of Auditor General.
The country, which has been using only di-ammonium phosphate (DAP) and urea for many years, abandoned DAP and began importing a new fertilizer called NPS.
The blending factories that were administered under the respective unions were built with a 1.2 million USD grant from the USAID Feed the Future innovation and were intended to distribute their products to the farmers in their mandated areas through the cooperatives.
Presently, over 95 percent of the country’s agricultural inputs including fertilizers are distributed through cooperatives.
Cooperatives in Ethiopia are play an active role in the fields of finance, input and output marketing, consumer goods, agro processing, mechanization and many other economic and social activities.
Currently there are 85,496 primary cooperatives with individual membership 19,502,786 and 388 Cooperative Unions (secondary tier) with members of 15, 813 primary cooperatives, 3 Cooperative Federations (tertiary tier) with 146 members. Their capital has reached 22.9 billion Birr and they employ 1,495,391 people in the country.