The Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) has said it will punish importers, traders, distributors and other players in the fertiliser industry found to be flouting standards and laws in the Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP).
MSB Director General Symon Mandala has also announced mandatory confiscation and destruction, recall orders, and re-exportation of commodities in the AIP that do not meet Malawi standards.
Mandala told journalists in Blantyre that the bureau was scaling up surveillances aimed at assessing market and end point compliance of commodities including those being distributed under the AIP.
“We have noted a rise in players in the fertiliser industry that are bent at duping farmers by selling substandard fertiliser. We, therefore, would like to inform them that all fertiliser manufactured, repacked or imported into the country must undergo mandatory conformance assessment by the MBS before they are allowed for use in the country,” Mandala said.
He also said the bureau would see to it that importers of fertiliser obtain an import licence from the Ministry of Trade and that fertiliser must as well be approved by the Ministry of Agriculture for use in Malawi.
To encourage compliance, Mandala said MBS would issue annual certificates on consistently complying products, with products that pass being exempted from inspection and testing fees for 12 months
“The requirement is that the product should have passed on four consecutive importations and originate from same supplier and same country,” Mandala said.
Malawi is an agro-based economy and the government is implementing the AIP to improve access to farm inputs for increased production at household level.
But some unscrupulous traders are reported to be mixing fertiliser with non-fertliser materials to dupe farmers.
Eric Msikiti is a Senior Reporter/News Producer at Times Group. Though relatively young, Eric boasts years of experience in Malawi’s media industry.