Be wear of underweight, low-grade fertilizer, farmers warned

ONE of the most expensive bidders in the procurement of Urea fertilizer which is being single-sources has been accused of supplying not only low-grade fertilizer but is also underweight for the commodity, sources within the sector have disclosed.

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An open tender for the supply and delivery of Urea fertilizer for the 2023/2024 was cancelled two weeks ago and was to be reinstated with single sourcing tender that saw the number of bidders exclusively restricted to 13, with the most expensive bidder being the most preferred.

And now, it has emerged that one of the highest bidders has been supplying low-grade fertilizer apart from underweight the commodity to the unsuspecting farmers.

The sources have also disclosed that most of the bidders that have been single-sourced do not have the fertilizer in stock and that they would have to begin sourcing the commodity once they have been awarded the tender.

There are concerns that some of the players have never been genuine and have been swindling farmers by delivering under-packaged fertilizer by as much as 10kg less for a 50KG bag.  

“The contracts for the supply of Urea fertilizer which has been done visa single-sourcing will be awarded tomorrow (today). As you may know, only 13 companies were selected in this single-sourcing from the more than 44 who had bided in the open tender.  But the concern is that from among the most expensive bidders, one of them has been known to supplying underweight fertilizer. The same company has been known to supplying low-grade fertilizer.

“As you may know, when importing fertilizer, it come in bulk and the repackaging is done here. So what this company does is to that it under-packs the fertilizer. The normal packaging is that the bag should weigh 50Kg but in most cases, this player would deliver fertilizer weighing between 40Kg and 45Kg. The people who are swindled are our unsuspecting cadres,” the sources said.

The sources said it was the excess fertilizer that would later be repackaged from which the company would generate money for kickbacks which you hear is being offered to those highly politically connected.

The sources said the same company has allegedly been bribing government inspectors such that even if the fertilizer was taken to government laboratories, the results would never be a true reflection of the quantities and quality of what was being expected.

“The bidders who do not have stock but would be awarded the contract tomorrow (today), should avoid engaging the known preferred but most expensive bidder because chances are that they will be given low quality and underweight fertilizer. In some cases, the known company would add plastic granules as top up for every underweight bag of fertiliser,” the sources said.



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