Monday, March 5, 2018

Distribution of fertilizers is an uphill task, farmers complain

The willingness amongst farmers to apply fertilisers is immense but they are being let down by suppliers, the Minister for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Dr Charles Tizeba has said. Dr Tizeba voiced the misgivings at a press conference over the weekend where among other things he announced the indicative prices for sowing fertilisers - DAP. He pointed out that bulk procurement of fertilisers would help in boosting the application of fertilisers and the government’s goal was to ensure that this year the supply reached 200,000 tonnes, up from 100,000 tonnes procured last year. “Indicative prices for Eastern Zone, Central Zone, Southern Zone and Northern Zone will range between 47,600 and 57,000 for a 50kg bag. These prices have increased by eight per cent when compared to theprevious ones,” he said. Elaborating on the move by the government to embark on bulk procurement of fertilisers, Dr Tizeba said the fifth phase government led by President John Pombe Magufuli was committed to boost the agricultural sector and increase supply of raw materials to domestic industries. “Our country is among the countries in the world where application of fertilisers is low; there is a declaration which requires us to apply 50kg of crops’ supplements per hectare. However, our farmers are applying 19kg or 38 per cent only,” said the minister. Dr Tizeba added, “We are making efforts to increase the application, in order to reach the 50kg mark like other African countries. Among the strategies we are using to make it possible is to reduce prices. In 2011, we amended laws and regulations of fertiliser supply, prompting creation of the Tanzania Fertiliser Regulatory Authority. In 2017 we introduced bulk procurement of fertilisers and now we are announcing the third phase”. Reaffirming the government’s commitment in ensuring that farmers are relieved, Dr Tizeba said the government would have no mercy on traders who would hike prices. He pointed out that indicative prices were not a way of depriving importers or suppliers of making profit, but was rather a move to ensure that farmers were not implicated in unreasonable prices.

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