Fertiliser practices in spotlight

PAST and present trade practices in the fertiliser industry were the main points discussed in a meeting between commercial farmers and Sasol Nitro, Agri SA said yesterday.

PAST and present trade practices in the fertiliser industry were the main points discussed in a meeting between commercial farmers and Sasol Nitro, Agri SA said yesterday.

Agri SA president Johannes Moller said the meeting was held so that farmer representatives could learn the background to the recent competition inquiry which led to an administrative fine of R251million for Sasol Nitro.

Moller said Sasol Nitro confirmed the fine was related to collusion within the fertiliser industry between 1999 to 2005.

An in-depth inquiry was conducted in 2008 into Sasol Nitro's business practices and corrective action was taken to prevent a recurrence.

Moller said Sasol Nitro confirmed that Sasol would consider proven claims from clients who had been negatively affected by the anti-competitive conduct.

Sasol Nitro said that no general guidelines had been instituted and each claim would be dealt with on merit.

Moller said Sasol Nitro is communicating with organised agriculture and a wide range of alternatives are being investigated.

A cut-off date has not been set for claims submissions.

Producers were, however, free to raise the matter with Sasol Nitro provided they could substantiate any damages or loss incurred.

Moller said they also discussed current trends in the fertiliser industry as Agri SA was concerned that SA was becoming increasingly dependent on imports.

"To counter this trend, the parties agreed there should be greater investment in local manufacturing capacity," said Moller. - Sapa

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