AfricaAmhara Regional StateBahir DarDailyScoopEthiopiaLaw & JusticeNews

#ASDailyScoop: Police in Amhara region seize 400 quintals illegally smuggled fertilizer

During a subsequent house-to-house search, the police found a chunk of the fertilizer unloaded from the vehicle and stored in private homes. Photo: Amhara Agriculture bureau

Addis Abeba – Amhara regional state agriculture bureau said the police intercepted a trailer loaded with 400 quintals of fertilizer, which took off from Djibouti port and was en route to its destination in Wereta city of Amhara regional state. The fertilizer was intercepted by the police during illegal activities between the truck driver and a group of individuals before the fertilizer arrived at the intended destination.

Recently, farmers in many parts of the regional state have been protesting against lack of fertilizer which has crippled their farming activities as fears of farmers missing on the planting season grow. Illicit fertilizer trading has further compounded the problem.

The alleged illicit activity took place in the capital Bahir Dar city, at a place called Sebatamit Kebele on 23 July at 12:00 a.m. while the fertilizer was being “illegally distributed to individuals,” the bureau said.

Although most of the fertilizer could be seized from the vehicle, the police found that more than 140 quintals were already distributed to individuals illegally.

During a subsequent house-to-house search, the police found a chunk of the fertilizer unloaded from the vehicle and stored in private homes. Of these 89 quintals of fertilizer were found stored in one individual’s house, and 24 quintals of it were found stored under the bed and in the kitchen of another individual’s house, the bureau further said.

The suspected driver is under police custody and under investigations, the regional police said, and appealed for communities to condemn such activities.

The police said that the driver is under the control of the law and is being investigated. He asked the society to condemn such illegal activities.

In June this year, members of the Standing Committee on Agricultural Affairs of the House of People’s Representatives (HoPR) called for stringent measures against the illicit fertilizer trade after they seized 4,165 quintals of undistributed fertilizer from the Degoy and Wetet Abay Cooperative Associations, located in the West Gojjam Zone, South and North Mecha districts during an inspection. The fertilizer was found stockpiled in local warehouses, HoPR said, adding that district administrators cited insufficient quantities to meet the needs of all farmers as the rationale behind their decision to withhold distribution until more supplies arrived. AS

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