Speaking at a workshop organised by the agriculture board attended by agricultural stakeholders held in Morogoro this week, agriculture officer in the fertilizer and crops division from the Ministry of Agriculture Joseph Lyafwila said that in the agricultural sector, “we have observed success from the new system within three years as of now the fertilizer reaches the farmers in time even though there are still some snags here and there.”
He said they are aware that farmers have been complaining on prices and this is due to the fact that there are some far away villages necessitating price increases, and added that the government was still addressing that issue.
The director of policy and planning from the agriculture board Timothy Mbaga said they decided to research on the new system and advise the government on how to improve it.
“Before the new system farmers were sold fake fertilizer including cement, but we in the agriculture board raised our voices and we thank that the government for answering to our cries and ultimately coming up with this new system,” he said.
He said the fertilizer needs in the country increase all the time and it is estimated that it now stands at 400,000 tons per year but only 70,000 is imported through BPS.
He said since the start of BPS three years ago the main aim was to lower fertilizer prices including ensuring the input reaches the farmers in time and that the Agriculture Board in conjunction with the government will continue to address the issue.
On his part the Chief Advisor of the research on BPS conducted Dr Lutengano Mwinuka, speaking about the results of the research since its start, said BPS has benefited many farmers who have increased their crops yields.
Dr Mwinuka who is also a Lecturer at the Faculty of Economy from University of Dodoma (UDOM) said this was appropriate time for business people to start fertilizer selling points in rural areas for the input to reach many farmers.
He added that the research showed rail transport to be the cheapest means of moving the fertilizer thereby making the input affordable to many farmers.
On their part, users and importers of fertilizer speaking at the workshop said among others, BPS is good and has helped in obtaining the agricultural input without much difficulty.
Joshua Ivan from OCP Fertilizer Company said it is now right time for the correct fertilizer requirement to be assessed before regulating the price thereof and the issuing tenders for its distribution, but also it is important to work closely with the distributors.