Allana Partner ICL launches "Potash for Growth" program in Ethiopia
Allana Potash Corp. (TSX:AAA) ("Allana" or the "Company") commends ICL (NYSE:ICL)(TASE:ICL) for its recent announcement initiating its "Potash for Growth" program in Ethiopia. The program is designed to unlock the potential of agriculture in Ethiopia by promoting balanced fertilization among Ethiopia's small and private farmers in order to increase their agricultural productivity and economic benefits from farming.
Allana was one of the first companies to realize the importance of various programs conducted by the Agriculture Transformation Agency of Ethiopia. The Company joined the ATA program in 2013 by making a significant financial contribution for its operating budget. Following ICL's s initial investment in Allana, they also made an important decision to support the ATA program as well. Allana and ICL have provided $US600,000 so far to support the various projects of the ATA.
Farhad Abasov, Allana's President & CEO commented, "The Potash for Growth program initiated by ICL in conjunction with its partners (including Allana) in Ethiopia is an important undertaking in advancing the rapid development of modern agriculture in the country. We are glad to see such a serious commitment from ICL to the development and growth of agriculture and fertilizer sectors in Ethiopia. Allana was one of the first companies to contribute to the Agricultural Transformation Agency two years ago, and Allana continued with its financial contribution to this program in 2014. Not only is this vital for the long-term expansion of Ethiopia's farming sector and the country's critical food security goals, but also for the health and welfare of all of Ethiopian citizens as it will improve crop quality and yields, as well as boost employment in the supporting agri-business and potash mining sectors. As Ethiopian and East African agriculture becomes more modernized and advanced, the use of fertilizers will increase and provide Allana's Danakhil potash project with natural market demand growth for its products. We are pleased to be a part of this agri- renaissance and plan to further support the education of the region's farmers in proper crop nutrient application methodologies."
The Potash for Growth program launched by ICL, in collaboration with its Ethiopian partners including Allana and the ATA (Agriculture Transformation Agency of Ethiopia), includes a range of activities to increase awareness by Ethiopian farmers of the benefits of potassium fertilizers.
The program's activities include:
- Potash demonstration plots and outreach to farmers: During 2014, over 600 potash demonstration plots were developed on farms in the states of Tigray, Amhara, Oromiya and Southern regions to demonstrate that potassium fertilizers increase yields of major Ethiopian crops, such as teff, wheat, barley and sorghum. Several hundred additional plots will be established on farmers' fields and farmer training centers during 2015. Field days for farmers will also be organized at these demonstration plots.
- Soil fertility mapping: Potash for Growth also supports a nation-wide soil fertility mapping program that is being conducted by the Ethiopian Agriculture Transformation Agency in collaboration with the country's Ministry of Agriculture and its regional partners. The mapping will enable Potash for Growth to recommend the most appropriate fertilizer applications at the district and PA (Peasant Association or Kebele) levels.
- Research and validation: In collaboration with Ethiopia's national universities, ICL's Potash for Growth program supports research by graduate students in the areas of potassium in soil and plants in Ethiopia in order to increase knowledge of balanced fertilization on various crops and to assist in developing specialists in plant nutrition.
ICL launched a similar Potash for Life project in India last year, creating nearly 600 demonstration sites in nine Indian states to demonstrate the benefits of balanced fertilizer use. After only one farming season, the three-year project has already achieved major progress in providing farmers with science-based evidence of the benefits of using potash fertilizers in Indian agriculture, as well as the profitability of using potash, which has been tested on more than 20 various crops.