‘DON’T INTERFER IN FERTILIZER SUPPLY’
By OLIVER SAMBOKO
GOVERNMENT interference in the fertilizer supply will cause a serious crisis in the Agriculture sector as private players are likely to shun participating in the supply chain, Small Scale farmer’s Development Agency (SAFADA) chairperson Boyd Moobwe has warned.
Mr Moobwe said in an interview that his organization is worried with what is happening in the agriculture sector following revelations by the head of state that the previous administration bought expensive fertilizer when a cheaper source was available.
He said agriculture is a viable sector that has always contributed to addressing national and household food security, attained sustainable income flow for small scale farmers and also achieves national economic development and growth.
Mr Moobwe said Government should come up with interventions aimed at providing subsidized fertilizer based on the accumulative commodity price to address fertilizer overpricing.
He said reports that the previous government has being paying three times the actual price of fertilizer should be reviewed in order to come up with a realistic report that will result in the price of the commodity to come down.
He explained that according to a study carried out by his organization, fertilizer prices on the international market range from $430 to $460 per ton and in some cases about $868 per ton.
Mr Moobwe said SAFADA doesn’t agree with government that the previous government was paying $1200 per ton of fertilizer, considering that no proper study has been done to justify such claim.
“From our standing, it is not possible to import fertilizer at $400 from the source and sell at the same price when it reaches its destination. The new government should just work on how to drop the price and not to concentrate on alleged wrongs by the previous administration,” he said.
Mr Moobwe said it is important that the government specify the category of fertilizer in question, because the private sector has got its own way of determining prices for the commodity.
He said attempts to bring down the price of fertilizer from K800 per 50kg bag to K250 will not be realized soon as expected, because any pressure imposed to drop the price will have a very negative impact on the farmer because the farmer will be exposed to cheap but fake fertilizers.