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Yara plans to halt Belgian fertilizer unit in the coming days

PARIS, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Norway's Yara, one of the world's largest fertilizer makers, said on Tuesday it will halt output at its Belgian unit "in the next few days," as part of a wider European reduction plan linked to soaring gas prices.

Fertilizers require large amounts of energy to be produced. The surge in gas prices has prompted several manufacturers, including Yara, to cut production.

Yara said in August it intends to cut ammonia production by 65% and ammonium nitrate (AN), used in agriculture as a fertilizer, by 35%. It had not given details per site.

Annual production capacity at its Belgian site of Tertre, located near the French border, is of 400,000 tonnes of ammonia, 950,000 tonnes of AN fertilizers, and 800,000 tonnes of nitric acid, the company said.

The halting of the factory will entail a drop of 10% in AN supply on the French market, which will be mostly compensated by its Montoir-de-Bretagne unit in western France, Yara France chairman Nicolas Broutin told reporters.

The plant uses imported ammonia like Yara's other French fertilizer unit in southwest France.

Without fertilizers, crop yields deteriorate because nutrients removed from soil during harvesting are not replenished.

(Reporting by Sybille de La Hamaide, Editing by Louise Heavens)

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