Minister for Agriculture, Professor Adolf Mkenda said in Dar es Salaam yesterday after inspecting a fertilizer offloading area at Dar es Salaam Port that construction of the fertilizer factory will help boost local production to meet growing demand.
“We invite both local and foreign investors to come and invest in fertilizer factory in Tanzania because as government, we want to increase the use of fertilizer among smallholder farmers,” Prof Mkenda said saying the government through Tanzania Investment Centre is offering incentives to the investors.
Prof Mkenda who was accompanied by Tanzania Fertilizer Regulatory Authority’s Executive Director, Dr Stephan Ngailo, commended DSM Corridor Group Limited for investing in fertilizer importing facilities. “The ministry is currently encouraging investment but also importation to meet current demand because consumption is much higher at over 700,000 metric tons per annum’” he noted.
He promised speedy issuance of permits project documents for investors seeking to build the fertilizer factory but also for imports. “We want to help farmers reduce costs of buying fertilizer by ensuring that more players are in the market to boost competition,” the Minister for Agriculture added.
Briefing Prof Mkenda, TFRA’s Executive Director, Dr Ngailo said currently the regulatory body has introduced an online system to issue import permits so that more players should join the business.
“Right now it will be easy for importers or suppliers to obtain permits because it only takes 30 minutes online instead of seven days previously,” Dr Ngailo noted while adding that manual processing of permits slowed down the process. He said last year, a total of 580,738 tons of fertilizer were imported for domestic use while demand was 586,604 tons.
TPA’s Dar Port Director, Elihuruma Lema said because of logistical challenges, fertilizer importers are requesting the government to increase the number of days when consignments can stay in warehouses at the port without storage charges from 21 days to 120 days.
“Currently, after 21 days in TPA warehouse, the fertilizer consignments attract storage charge which contributes to increased prices to farmers,” Lema said saying the ports landlord has no legal powers to address the matter.