THE government is reviewing the whole fertiliser supply chain to plug off leakages used by unscrupulous traders to profiteer at the expense of farmers, the Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Hussein Bashe has said.
He told Members of Parliament at the ongoing Bunge session on Thursday that the ministry was reviewing the supply chain after revelations that some suppliers were inflating prices of the fertilizers and were not reaching all the areas at the right time.
"The ministry is reviewing the fertilizer supply chain to weed out theft, whose costs are borne by farmers," said the Deputy Minister in his reply to a supplementary question from Cecilia Paresso (Special Seats, Chadema), who wanted to know what the government was doing to address problems in the supply chain of fertilizers.
The Deputy Minister said the government will also reform Tanzania Fertilizers Company (TFC), to help it meet the current demands.
He said the government was prioritizing fertilizers produced by the Arusha based Minjingu Mines and Fertilizers Limited over imports.
He said the government was also conducting a baseline survey for horticultural crops in the country to identify zones and their most suitable crops.
That will help the government to know which crops in the horticultural sector should be prioritized to boost exports of horticultural products, he said.
The Deputy Minister had earlier said that the government strategy through Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI), was to conduct soil sampling in all seven agricultural ecological zones.
The exercise is aimed at determining nutrient content, composition, and other characteristics such as acidity or PH level.
He was responding to a basic question by Joseph Mkundi (Ukerewe, CCM), who wanted to know about the government strategy in conducting a scientific research so as to advise farmers on types of crops to be grown and efficient use of their pieces of land.
Bashe said initial results of a soil sampling exercise in Ukerewe District indicated that the soil had low levels of nutrients, at 1.3 per cent compared to 2.5 to 3.5 per cent for fertile soil.
It also showed acidity level was 5.4 (pH5.4), compared to pH 6.6 to 7.7 which is suitable for crops to get nutrients from the soil, he said.
The acidity level in the area indicates there is phosphorous, potassium, sulphur, calcium, and magnesium nutrients in the soil, he said, adding that farmers are advised to use fertilizers with nitrogen, potassium, phosphorous, sulphur, calcium and magnesium nutrients which include Minjingu Mazao, Yaramila, manure, CAN, UREA and DAP.