Ethiopian scientist at Mekele University Veterinary College lecturer, Tinsay Weldegebriel, has introduced a liquid fertilizer that can be used to grow plants without soil and water.
The organic fertilizer he said can be produced from easily available inputs such as, animal waste and manures, has the potential to save the country’s bill spent on importing fertilizers. One liter liquid fertilizer he produces can be diluted by 240 liters of water, while one liter of the diluted liquid fertilizer can grow up to 60 kilograms of grass; he said speaking to the state broadcaster – ETV.
He said that one liter of his liquid fertilizer using hydrophone technology he uses allows growing 10 to 11 kilograms of plant from one kilogram of seed. He stated that using his liquid fertilizer the grasses grow faster than the normal time to grow on land consuming water.
In addition, the scientist has been producing different pesticides, anti-fungus and bacteria products in his small laboratory.
Agriculture is the major sector in Ethiopia, with contribution of 41.6% to GDP, employing 83% of the labor force and contributing 90% of the total export earnings of the country. Meanwhile less than 40% of farmers in Ethiopia use fertilizer. Ethiopia is not producer but depends on imports of fertilizer from overseas.
Fertilizer usage was introduced to Ethiopian smallholder farmers in 1967. Initially the business was controlled by the government company, Agricultural Input Supply Corporation, which re-branded itself as Agricultural Inputs Supply Enterprise.
Partly because of government monopoly of the market, farmers have been facing several challenges from fertilizer delays to fixing prices. “Government has to re-consider on the monopoly of fertilizers import in its policy and involve competent private importers and logistics service providers to import fertilizers,” suggested a paper, Analysis of Supply Chain of Fertilizers in Ethiopia, published in June 2016 by Reta Hailu.
“Government also needs to apply multimodal mode of shipment and as majority of imports in Ethiopia passes via Djibouti port and could not accommodate the huge flow of goods into Ethiopia,” recommended the paper Submitted to the School of Commerce of Addis Ababa University.
Though many efforts have been made by researchers to introduce organic fertilizer and cut the import bill of the country for the past several years, the country has continue importing fertilizer using its scarce hard currency.