DEHARKI: Engro Fertilizers Limited is expected to begin commercial operation of its pesticide business by the end of current year, according to company officials.
The company has been preparing to venture into the pesticide business for more than a year. Pakistan annually imports about Rs40 billion worth of pesticides.
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Speaking to The Express Tribune, Engro Fertilizers Chief Executive Officer Ruhail Mohammed said that the company would sell blended pesticides in the country, which it would purchase in partnership with different foreign enterprises.
"We have been experimenting with different products for the past one year or so," he said. "We have not yet finalised anything about the product portfolio because there are a number of product varieties as well as crops on which the company has to first test the imported products."
Talking to journalists in Deharki, Ghotki district, Engro Fertilizers Senior Vice President (Manufacturing) Asif Tajik said that there was a shortage of notable companies in the local pesticide market. "Pesticides have a huge market, but there is a dearth of reliable companies that could market these products in the country," he said.
At present, the company is in talks with five other companies to market their products in Pakistan.
Speaking about the glut of urea in the domestic market, Tajik said that fertiliser companies wanted to export their available stocks, but low international prices and thin margins were the main obstacles faced by many in the industry.
He also said that Engro was not producing fertiliser at full capacity because of low demand in the market. "In 2015, our net profit was Rs15 billion, which came down to Rs9 billion in previous year," he said. "This may further drop in the ongoing year mainly due to excess supply and low demand."
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Moreover, he said that the government should allow up to one million tons of exports until December so that fertiliser companies had adequate space to construct their export plans.
"Owing to low demand in the country, fertiliser players are not running their plants at full capacity. At present, the industry has an inventory of about 1.5 million tons of urea, which itself is a big challenge because it is difficult to keep fertiliser stocks for long periods of time."
Published in The Express Tribune, May 6th, 2017.
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