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Farmers body anxious over fertiliser scarcity

Affordable Inputs Programme

By Patience Lunda

Gracian Lungu

Farmers Union of Malawi (Fum) says farmers are unlikely to realise much maize harvest this year due to the scarcity of Urea fertiliser in the country.

On February 9 2022, the Ministry of Agriculture released a statement calling on district agriculture officials to allow farmers under the Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP) to redeem other types of fertiliser such as NPK, Ammonium Sulphate and CAN due to the absence of Urea on the market.

And in an interview on Tuesday, Fum President Frighton Njolomole expressed reservations on the efficacy of these other fertilisers.

“Urea has more nitrogen as compared to the other fertilisers; hence they can’t perform like it does. It is very likely that the yields will be affected,” he said.

Spot checks conducted by The Daily Times in Mzuzu City indicated that the commodity is in limited supply and is fetching as high as K36,000 per 50 kg bag.

Commenting on the development Ministry of Agriculture spokesperson Gracian Lungu said it is too early to determine that farmers will harvest little, saying crop estimates that the ministry will conduct will give a better picture.

“The crop estimates will give a clear picture of how harvests will be because most farmers are yet to apply the fertilisers that have been recommended to them,” he said.

Urea is 46 percent nitrogen while Ammonium Sulphate has 28 percent NPK has 23 percent and CAN has 27 percent.

In an interview on the statement from the ministry earlier, agriculture expert Tamani Nkhono Mvula said failure by the government to supply Urea was a clear sign of failure of the AIP this year due to lack of proper planning.

“It is a fact that this year’s AIP has not been successful because when they were launching this programme they should have known where this fertiliser would come from. They should have known how much Urea would be needed, and where that Urea would come from,” Mvula said.

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