Tanzania said on Friday it plans to start building a $3 billion fertiliser factory in partnership with a consortium of investors from Germany, Denmark and Pakistan this year.
“The factory will use natural gas to manufacture fertiliser and will be built in joint venture with a group of investors,” the president’s office said in a statement.
The east African country said in February that an additional 2.17 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of possible natural gas deposits has been discovered in an onshore field, raising its total estimated recoverable natural gas reserves to more than 57 tcf.
Natural gas is one of the hydrocarbon sources of ammonia, a key fertiliser ingredient.
“The plant, which will become Africa’s biggest fertiliser producer, will have a capacity of producing 3,800 tonnes per day and will employ up to 5,000 people,” the statement said.
The factory will be built in southern Tanzania near big offshore gas finds is expected to be commissioned in 2020.
Officials said the state-run Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation (TPDC) have signed a joint venture agreement with German firm Ferrostaal Industrial Projects, Danish industrial catalysts producer Haldor Topsoe and Pakistan’s Fauji Fertiliser Company to develop the plant.
Fertiliser produced by the plant will be used to boost agriculture output in Tanzania, while surplus capacity will be exported to foreign markets.
Tanzania currently imports most of its fertiliser.
Agriculture contributes more than a quarter of Tanzania’s gross domestic product (GDP) and employs around 75 per cent of the labour force, but growth is stifled by low crop yields.