THE government has outlined measures being taken to address the rising prices of fertilizer to ensure that farmers in the country are not affected.
The move came just a day after President Samia Suluhu Hassan said that the government is aware of the fertiliser price hike in the global market and it has started taking measures to ensure that farmers remain safe. She said recently, the government abolished the tender process for fertilizer importation in the country, thus opening doors for any trader who intends to bring fertilizer into the country to have the opportunity.
Other measures revealed yesterday by the Minister for Agriculture, Professor Adolf Mkenda include advising farmers to use NPS and ZIN-NK fertilizers for planting, which are relatively inexpensive compared to DAP (Diammonium phosphate) fertilizer which is widely used by most farmers and its price has gone up in the world market.
Prof Mkenda said that all three fertilizers are used for growing crops but because one of them is expensive, the ministry advises farmers to use other selected fertilizers.
"It is true fertilizer prices have gone up in the world market... as a country, we don't have anything to push it down, but we have to advise farmers to use other alternatives so that they continue with their activities," he said.
"DAP fertilizer is sold at 75000 per 50 kgs in Dar es Salaam and the price has gone up in other regions up to 100,000/- thus causing a burden to farmers," he said.
Prof Mkenda hinted that his ministry has contacted agents who import NPS and NPSZINK fertilizers so that it can be available to farmers.
Mkenda also noted that the government will also ensure that imported fertiliser does not take long time at the port so that it can reach the farmers at affordable prices. He said they have also decided to meet with fertilizer dealers in the country with the aim of agreeing to import fertilizers in bulk because fertilizer so to reduce importation costs.
"I commend the minister in charge of the port authority (Ministry of Transport and Construction) for assuring us that when fertilizer arrives at the port it won't be delayed," he insisted.
According to Professor Mkenda, farmers should not be worried as the government is working hard to make sure farmers activities are not affected by the price hike. On her part, Catherine Senkoro, Director of the Agricultural Research Center (TARI) Mlingano Centre, Tanga, said the NPS and NPS-ZINK fertilizers have already been researched and showed positive results in the southern highlands.
He said most farmers are accustomed to using the same type of DAP fertilizer which is currently expensive and many farmers will not be able to afford it "Farmers should not worry about these fertilizers as we have done research in the regions of Iringa, Njombe and Songwe and have largely shown good results, and we advise farmers in other regions to continue to implement it in the next growing season." She explained