TFRA makes strides in transforming the country ‘s fertiliser industry

30Nov 2021
By Guardian Reporter
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
TFRA makes strides in transforming the country ‘s fertiliser industry

AS the clock ticks towards December 9, Tanzania Fertiliser Regulatory Authority (TFRA) has made significant strides in transforming the country’s fertiliser industry.

Among notable successes include controlling the quality of fertilizer, increasing its availability, making it affordable to smallholder farmers, encouraging new investment in fertiliser manufacturing and the spillover effect has been to empower those in the sub-sector value chain—farmers, importers, traders, and transporters.

According to TFRA Executive Director, Dr Stephan Ngailo, fertiliser control systems have continued to be strengthened to ensure that farmers get value for money in the form of the best fertiliser at all times.

He says that fertiliser control has been achieved by continuing to raise awareness among inspectors, identify all traders by registering, monitoring and providing education on effective fertilizer management.

To date, TFRA has trained and registered and announced them in the Government Gazette, a total of 140 fertiliser inspectors working with the authority, regional secretariat and district councils, in accordance with the Fertiliser Act, 2009.

It has also registered a total of 361 fertilizers as of November 10, this year and fertiliser dealers have increased from 51 in 2012/13 to 4,860 as of now.

“As of November, 2021, TFRA issued 6,562 licenses to fertiliser business premises in each of their business areas,” he says.

In controlling the quality of fertilizer, TFRA has managed to expand and increase inspections by opening zonal offices—northern zone (Arusha), Lake Zone (Mwanza) and Southern Highlands Zone (Mbeya). “These offices have largely helped to eliminate substandard and artificial fertiliser in the market,” the official says, noting that TFRA has improved fertiliser supply and distribution systems.

Since its establishment, TFRA has created an enabling environment for the fertilizer business in the country and contributed to the increase in fertiliser traders from 51 (2012/13) to 4,860 (2020/21).

“This has increased competition with traders to supply the farm inputs to the grassroots level, where majority farmers do farming. This situation has attracted traders and thus increased the pace of importation and supply of fertiliser in the country from 302,453 tonnes (in 2009/2010) to 546,818 tonnes (in 2020/21), which is an increase of 80.7 per cent,” he states.

According to Dr Ngailo, fertiliser consumption has increased from 263,390 tonnes to 475,870 tonnes for the 2009/10 and 2020/21 agricultural seasons, respectively.

“This equates to an increase of 80.6 per cent. This increase is due to the government through the Ministry of Agriculture closely monitoring the import and export of fertiliser and the promotion of fertiliser use by farmers,” he says, adding that awareness has been done by the government and agricultural stakeholders through the media, and different agricultural gatherings.

TFRA's acting Director of domestic manufacturing and bulk procurement, Joseph Charos said the fertilizer availability has drastically increased from 302,000 tonnes in 2009/2010 to 546,818 tonnes in 2020/21. Its use has also improved from 263,390 tonnes and 475,870 tonnes.

The fertiliser delivery system has improved where at present all services are provided using the Fertiliser Information System (FIS).

“The system has improved customer service within a short period of time and secured records of all transactions by providing fertiliser dealer registration and licensing services, permits for the import and export of fertiliser and fertiliser registration.”

The system came into effect on March 01, whereby as of November, this year, the system has successfully issued 1,702 licenses, fertiliser import permits in 310 countries and fertiliser export permits in 79 countries.
Investment in the fertiliser industry.

Prior to 2012, Tanzania had four fertiliser factories, but due to the improved investment climate in the country and the mobilisation carried out and the ongoing political will of the current government, Tanzania has 16 factories that produce various types of fertiliser and their supplements including organic fertilizer, foliar fertiliser and solid fertilizer.

Of the 16 factories, three of them produce lime and gypsum fertiliser in Dodoma and Tanga regions. Ten factories produce grain and foliar fertiliser of which six are in Arusha, three in Kilimanjaro and one in Coast region. The remaining three produce organic fertiliser, one in Manyara and two in Dar es Salaam.

“These factories produce less than 10 per cent of the amount of fertiliser needed in the country per year. In 2020/21 a total of 42,695 tonnes of various types of fertiliser and additives were manufactured in the country, with a mineral factory producing 66.9 per cent of locally produced fertiliser.”

In addition, Dr Ngailo says the government continues to encourage the private sector to invest in the construction of fertiliser factories in the country.

So far, he says different investors have come forward including an investor from Burundi who has already started the construction of the factory in Dodoma.

The factory’s foundation stone was laid down by the Burundian President Evarist Ndayishimiye October 22, this year.

“Construction of this factory has reached 25 percent and upon its completion will be able to produce 600,000 tonnes of fertiliser per year,” TFRA boss says, adding that the Nigerian investor, Aliko Dangote has also pledged to build a fertiliser factory in the southern region of Mtwara.

“So, we hope that all these initiatives will increase fertiliser availability as well as reducing the price of the important farm inputs.”

TFRA’s acting director of regulatory services, Gerod Nganilevanu also unveils that the authority has started building a fertiliser laboratory. Since its inception, the authority could not have its own fertiliser quality testing laboratory.

Nganilevanu adds: “So, in fulfilling our main fertiliser quality control function, we’re forced to use Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS), Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute (TARI), Tanzania Pesticides Research Institute (TPRI), Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) , and Government Chemist Laboratory Agency (GCLA) that delay response, thus slowing down implementation of regulatory functions.”

Starting in the 2020/21 fiscal year, TFRA is building a special laboratory to measure the quality of locally produced, imported and the one which is in use across the east African nation.

“Construction of this facility has reached 32 per cent…this lab will increase efficiency in carrying out TFRA core responsibilities. It’s expected to be used by neighboring countries that use Tanzanian ports such as Malawi, Zambia, DRC, Burundi and Rwanda,” he unveils.

On limited production of fertiliser factories, Dr Ngailo says the local fertilizer industry and its supplements face a number of challenges including the misconception that locally produced fertilizers do not meet quality; low awareness of farmers in using fertiliser supplements; high energy cost; high interest rates on investment banks; taxes imposed on fertilizer raw materials and high cost of accessing raw materials.

"These challenges contribute to locally produced fertiliser, being less competitive in the domestic market compared to imported fertiliser.”

On the low use of supplement fertiliser, Dr Ngailo says, despite low production of supplement fertiliser and the low level of awareness among farmers on the use of supplement fertiliser, the country is still very low compared to soil demand.

“This situation has greatly contributed to the low efficiency of fertiliser used in Tanzania, due to soil acidity. FRA continues to work with local government authorities and other stakeholders to sensitize farmers on the importance of using fertiliser,” he says.

Addressing challenges;

In addressing challenges, TFRA is gearing up and continues to build the capacity of experts on various new fertiliser technologies.

“This training will be conducted locally and abroad in various fields in the fertiliser value chain; we’ll also continue to strengthen the quality control of fertiliser in the country by training fertiliser inspectors in every district council, registering all fertiliser, manufacturers and sellers and conducting regular inspections at ports, borders, warehouses and shops as well as encouraging construction of local fertiliser and auxiliary factories.”

TFRA, according to Dr Ngailo, will continue to encourage existing investors to increase production and also new investors to come and invest in the construction of fertiliser production to increase access and affordability of the important farm inputs.

“This will also contribute to increased employment, government output and foreign exchange earnings by exporting the fertiliser. The authority will continue to work with stakeholders to promote the use of fertiliser supplements. TFRA continues to partner with development institutions and stakeholders in promoting the use of fertiliser aids through media and fertiliser symposiums.”

“Our hope is that the implementation of these goals; the availability, supply and consumption of fertiliser in Tanzania will increase and thus increase productivity and productivity for food security and increase GDP.”

Being one of the key public institutions under the ministry of Agriculture, TFRA was established by the Fertiliser Act No. 9 of 2009 and its regulations of 2011. It began executing its duties in August 2012.

TFRA is responsible for quality control and regulating the fertiliser trade in the value chain including manufacturing, import and export, storage and distribution. To this end, TFRA works with all stakeholders to ensure that farmers receive quality fertiliser on time.

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