Abdel-Wahab Agroud, Director General of the Tunisian Governmental Chemical Complex, said that his country “is compelled to import in order to face the deficit in providing sufficient fertilizers for the agricultural sector and to create sufficient stocks of this substance.”
The first quantity of imported phosphates, which is estimated at 40,000 tons, will arrive in Tunisia from Algeria, before the end of this month, according to the general manager of the chemical complex.
Abdel-Wahab Agroud stressed the need to “continue production at a rate that must rise to a rate of no less than 75% of the production capacity of the Tunisian Chemical Complex plants, which has decreased in recent years to the level of 40%,” as he put it.
The Tunisian official indicated that his country is seeking, in an initial plan, to import 500 thousand tons of phosphate in several batches.
The decline in the volume of Tunisian phosphate production is due to the repeated protests and labor strikes that led to its suspension and suspension recently several months ago, causing millions of dollars in losses to the state-owned Gafsa Phosphate Company.
In his reaction to these developments, and in a call for dialogue with the striking workers, the new Tunisian prime minister, Hicham El Mechichi, said that resuming phosphate production is necessary as soon as possible, especially in this difficult economic circumstance that the country is going through due to the financial crisis and the repercussions of the Corona epidemic.
It is noteworthy that Tunisia’s production of phosphates declined by 50% after 2011, following the revolution against the Ben Ali regime. And after its volume was 8 million tons annually, in 2019 the production of this substance did not exceed 4 million tons.