FERTILISER prices have reduced by 15 per cent following Government's awarding of contracts for the supply of the commodity under the 2012/2013 Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP).
And Government has awarded contracts to Omnia Small-Scale Limited and Nyiombo Investments to supply 153,634 tonnes of fertiliser for the 2012/2013 farming season. Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia (NCZ) will supply 30,000 tonnes to make the total come to 183,634 tonnes.
Speaking at a media briefing in Lusaka yesterday, Agriculture and Livestock Minister, Emmanuel Chenda said the reduction in price has come about because Government listened to stakeholders' concerns raised on some clauses to do with solicitation documents for tenders to supply fertiliser.
Mr Chenda said after the areas of concern in solicitation forms were addressed, 17 companies submitted bids making the process "highly" competitive.
"As a result of the competition, fertiliser prices for this year under the FISP have reduced by a margin of approximately 15 per cent when compared to contracts in the 2011/2012 farming season," he said.
Mr Chenda said the average price of fertiliser per tonne in the 2011/2012 season was K4,782,350 translating into K239,118 per 50 Kilogramme bag while for this year's season, it would be K4,170, 500 per tonne and K208,525 per 50 Kilogramme bag.
He said it was Government's intention that with enhanced competition and implementation of the electronic-voucher payment system, prices for both fertiliser and other farming inputs would reduce further in subsequent years to suit the farmers' pocket.
The minister said contracts between Government and the two successful bidders would be signed this week. Fertiliser is expected to be all districts within six weeks after signing the contracts in readiness for distribution to farmers.
Under the contracts, Omnia Small-Scale would supply 22,843 tonnes of D-Compound and 37,354 tonnes of Urea valued at US$47,148,011.50, while Nyiombo Investments would deliver 41,185.50 tonnes of D-Compound and 52,251.5 tonnes of Urea valued at US$ 80,998,588.46.
He said in order to diversify agricultural production, his ministry had included cotton, sorghum and groundnut seeds as part of the in-puts given to vulnerable but viable farmers.
Mr Chenda said the ministry was consulting on the possibility of piloting the E-Voucher system as a remedy to poor targeting of beneficiaries and had consulted stakeholders on how to improve requirements for companies to tender for the supply of inputs.