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Fertiliser suppliers reject government price

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Gracian Lungu

Fertiliser Association of Malawi has rejected the price of fertiliser which the government set last week.

They have described the K27,000 per 50 kilogramme (kg) bag which Ministry of Agriculture officials announced as not feasible, considering rising global prices of fertiliser and logistical costs.

The government announced the new price last week as one of the interventions towards implementation of the Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP) this year amid a steep rise in the price of fertiliser, a key commodity in the programme.

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In the 2020-21 farming season, fertiliser prices ranged between K17,000 and K20,000. However the prices have shot up sharply this year to between K36,000 and K40,000 per 50kg bag.

Wednesday, 17 out of the 20 members of the association met to discuss the price which the government has set for the programme. The members disagreed with it.

The association’s executive administration officer Mbawaka Phiri said the companies had, therefore, resolved to engage the government further on the matter for a common solution.

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“The members of the association met and most companies say, given the current global prices and logistics as well as the exchange rate (which is now officially at K824 to one United States Dollar and continues to depreciate), the price the government has announced will not be feasible.

“We are hopeful that the government will be open to further discussions as we are eager to support the programme,” Phiri said.

Last week, Agriculture Minister Lobin Lowe said the government would not make a u-turn on the price it has set.

However, Phiri said the association was hopeful that it would have fruitful engagement with the government.

The association could, however, not indicate the feasible price the two parties could agree on.

In an interview Wednesday, Ministry of Agriculture spokesperson Gracian Lungu reiterated Lowe’s stand on the matter.

“The minister already addressed that issue, where he said those who think they cannot make a profit from the contract to be given should not sign our contract and there will be no discussions on increasing the price,” he said.

Farmers Union of Malawi President Frighton Njolomole hoped for a quick engagement between fertiliser suppliers and the government as AIP is racing against time.

This AIP is targeting a total of 3,744,105 farming households— the same number that was targeted last year.

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