Farmers now have reason to smile all the way to their fertiliser stockists following government moves to reduce its prices between 15 and 40 per cent - and the next farming season early September will almost coincide with the arrival of new fertilizser imports under the new bulk procurement system, codenamed BPS.
The good news was announced by Tanzania Fertiliser Regulatory Authority (TFRA) Executive Director Lazaro Kitandu when he briefed reporters in Dar es Salaam yesterday.
Announcing the commodity's indicative prices, the TFRA chief executive said: "... reduced fertiliser prices are among (first tangible) benefits accruing from the adoption of the BPS ... those who won the tenders offered us a relatively cheaper price at $307 per metric tonne ... previously, we paid up to $365 for the same quantity."
He added, "... the government imports fertiliser every two months ... so for the next two months we've ordered 23,000 metric tonnes of DAP and 32,000 of UREA fertilisers ... which we expect to arrive between September
5-15 and for the new farming demand countrywide is estimated at 400,000 metric tonnes per annum." Mr Kitandu said the new system had also adopted a system of indicative fertiliser prices by zone, region and stock point by means of transport.
Citing examples, he said in areas like Lindi Region, the observed price for a 50kg of Di-Ammonium phosphate (DAP) fertiliser would be 100,000/- , but the new indicative price would range from 52,000/-, a neat drop of 48 per cent.
For UREA fertiliser, prices range between 58,000/- and 75,000/-; but the indicative farm-gate price would stand at just 39,000/- .
The TFRA chief also said that in areas like Kigoma, the prices would depend on the means of transport used - under which the indicative price for DAP by road would range from 55,000/- and by railway at 53,000/-; UREA by road 42,000/- and by railway 41,000/-, a drop of between nine to eleven per cent.
According to the World Bank data, Tanzania has one of the lowest fertiliser consumption rates - where farmers use an average of 19kg per hectare of land - a major reason being high commodity prices which puts the product out of reach for most farmers. Mr Kitandu noted further that Tanzania had not reached its own target set under the auspices of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which pegs it at an average of 50kg of fertiliser per hectare of land. The new system and indicative prices might change the situation, he added.
TFRA was established under the fertiliser Act No. 9 of 2009 as a body mandated to enforce laws, policies and regulations governing the manufacture and use of, and trade in fertilizers, or fertiliser supplements.
The TFRA CEO further said the tender under BPS was opened in July 21, this year, after analysing the entries of two companies, one from Morocco and Premium Agro Chem from Tanzania, which won and were awarded the tender the same day.
He said on August 1, this year, TFRA and the companies signed contracts to import the commodity for the months of next September and October.
He urged other stakeholders across the country to consider investing in fertiliser production, saying there was only one local company doing this business now - and can hardly meet even local demand.