Europe

Turkmenistan, Belarus launch major potash fertilizer plant

Turkmenistan's President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, right, speaks with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko during the opening ceremony of a potash fertilizer plant in Garlyk, Turkmenistan, Friday, March 31, 2017. Leaders of ex-Soviet nations of Turkmenistan and Belarus have attended the launch of the huge potash fertilizer plant worth more than $1 billion. (AP Photo)

Turkmenistan's President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, right, speaks with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko during the opening ceremony of a potash fertilizer plant in Garlyk, Turkmenistan, Friday, March 31, 2017. Leaders of ex-Soviet nations of Turkmenistan and Belarus have attended the launch of the huge potash fertilizer plant worth more than $1 billion. (AP Photo)  (The Associated Press)

Leaders of ex-Soviet nations of Turkmenistan and Belarus have attended the launch of a huge potash fertilizer plant worth more than $1 billion.

The plant in Garlyk, built near huge potash deposits, is capable of producing 1.4 million tons of the fertilizer. It is set to export its products to China and India among other countries.

Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov says that the new plant will help feed high domestic and export demand for the fertilizer.

The plant was built by Belarus, one of the world's leading producers of potash. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko hailed it as the biggest such plant in the region.

Turkmenistan, which holds the world's fourth-largest natural gas reserves, has sought to diversify its economy to reduce its dependence on gas.