Tanzania: Fertiliser Shipment a Boon to Farmers

Dodoma — Farmers will now be able to access NPS and NPS Zink fertilisers at prices that are almost the same as those of last year as the government works on an affordable option to boost agricultural production.

NPS and NPS Zink - which are used as substitute for DAP - will now be available at the price of Sh60,000 and Sh65,000 per 50-kilogramme bag respectively in Dar es Salaam, Agriculture minister Adolf Mkenda said yesterday.

With increasing prices of fertilisers - fueled by a rise in demand as the global economy starts to recover from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic - the government has undertaken several measures to stabilize local prices.

Apart from putting the Bulk Procurement System (BPS) to a halt, Prof Mkenda has also found it unproductive to set indicative prices for the product.

"We decided to do away with the BPS because it was not offering us the best prices... In the same vein, announcing indicate prices was not the best option to take at a time when global prices were going up," Prof Mkenda said recently.

By mandating a few companies and individuals to buy fertiliser, the BPS was clos[1]ing the doors for other super dealers who could otherwise make fertilizers available to Tanzanian farmers on more affordable prices.

Speaking here yesterday, Prof Mkenda said the government was working around the clock and that in the process, it came up with NPS and NPS Zink fertilisers which are better substitutes for DAP.

Prices for DAP, he said, have gone up tremendously on the world market during the past few months.

He said NPS and NPS Zink have also undergone a search mechanism whereby more chemicals for Zink and sulphur were added to make them even more effective than DAP.

The fertilisers, he said, were available in a number of locations, asking Tanzanians to make use of them confidently.

The fertilisers have been made available following Prof Mkenda's recent trip to Morocco where he, among others things, visited OCP's fertiliser manufacturing plant.

The government will also engage other fertiliser manufacturers with a view to finding a way of reducing prices for the product.

The OCP Fertiliser manager in Tanzania, Dr Mshindo Msolla urged farmers to educate their counterparts so they can buy and make use of the product across the country.

"Farmers who have used this fertiliser must be in the front line to educate their counterparts. The fertiliser is affordable and can effectively help reduce production costs," he said.

The director of the Tanga-based Mlingano Centre of Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (Tari Mlingano), Dr Catherine Senkoro, said the fertiliser has chemicals that boost yields, giving better returns than some of those that were more expensive.

She said farmers who have used the fertilisers can attest to the fact that they are a better option to take.

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