Sunday, April 14, 2024

Cartels in the fertiliser business are making the cost of the commodity exorbitant-Farmers Union

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Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) Copperbelt East Regional Chairman Juliano Chanda Lamya says cartels in the fertiliser business are making the cost of the commodity exorbitant.

A 50 KG bag of urea fertiliser is currently fetching around K900 with D Compound going at around K750.

Agro-business experts have predicted that fertiliser prices will continue fluctuating owing to many factors that include the frequent revision of fuel prices.

In an interview, Mr. Lamya said too many middle men in the fertiliser business have resulted in the product becoming unaffordable to many small scale farmers.

Mr. Lamya said expensive fertiliser is negatively affecting crop production in the country.

“First, we have to ask ourselves what is shooting up the prices of fertiliser. What we have investigated and through our experience, there are a lot of cartels that are involved in the fertiliser business. Due to cartels, fertiliser might be imported at a cheaper price but if there are too many hands involved you expect everyone to have a share or cut in the business that is why the price goes up,” he said.

Mr. Lamya said farmers are expecting the New Dawn Government to facilitate the reduction of fertiliser prices.

“If Government allows those who are involved in fertiliser business to order directly from them, expect the price to be lower. For example, the President has assured us that they expect the fertiliser prices to drop because they are bringing companies to manufacture fertiliser in Zambia. Then expect prices to be lower because it will be locally produced,” he said.

Mr. Chanda further observed that the closure of Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia (NCZ) in Kafue has compounded the prices of fertiliser.

“If our Kafue Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia was functioning the prices of fertiliser in Zambia would have been low. The closure of Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia has definitely negatively affected the high cost of fertiliser. The closure of Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia has allowed everyone to get involved in the fertiliser business and sale at any price they want to. But Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia is a government controlled company that can ensure that there is nothing more than what people expected. If Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia remains closed, expect the price of fertilizer to be high,” Mr. Lamya said.

During campaigns for the 2021 General Elections, President Hakainde Hichilema when in opposition last July promised to lower the price of a 50kg bag of fertiliser, which according to him was costing farmers between K700 and K800.

In a message to his supporters, Mr. Hichilema, as United Party for National Development (UPND) leader said that when his party formed government in August, it will lower the price for the 50 kg bag of fertilizer to K250.

Taunting his party’s vision for Zambia, Mr. Hichilema said that the lowering of the fertiliser to K250 for a 50KG bag will lead to more production and cheaper foods, adding that it is the way economics works.

Meanwhile, Mr. Lamya has bemoaned the impact of fuel prices increment on the agriculture sector.

The Energy Regulation Board (ERB) has adjusted upwards the pump prices of petroleum products by K4.54/litre for Petrol, K4.68/litre for Diesel and K3.93/litre for Kerosene.

“The fuel itself is the driver of everything. Fuel drives everything. Moving an item from one point to another point requires fuel. If fuel goes up expect everything to go up. Fertiliser comes in transport mode like trucks so immediately the prices go up expect also fertilizer prices to go up. This affects agriculture programmes very much. This affects our agriculture activities. Every tractor uses fuel as you know, transportation is fuel. If the Government can come up with a deliberate policy of ensuring that especially those who are in Agriculture benefits through an incentive. Not a subsidy as such but a policy that will make fuel cheaper for Agriculture programmes,” Mr. Lamya said.

11 COMMENTS

  1. You can replace fertilizer by using compost instead. Yes it takes quite a bit of work but for the rest it’s free. You know that in many countries (Europe) fertilizer is banned? And compost has taken its place to great success.

  2. Moaning the Closure of NCZ is a non starter triggered on emotions than business sense. That plant is so old and probably unsafe. KK’s economic henchmen Evans Wilima, Dixie Zulu with no I’ll intentions made a mistake of wanting Zambia to produce anything and everything it needed with considering concepts like economies of scale or comparative advantage of a nation. That’s why we ended up with uncompetitive companies like mansa batteries, NCZ, etc. That said Zaffico was a real good investment with capacity to cover the entire country. If we were disciplined people we should not be importing treated poles.

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  3. This farmers union guy needs to consult his national President before he just talks any how ..I thought NCZ was closed while it was undergoing refab or re-construction. If I was HH7 I would personally oversee this matter as it was one of his main promises to reduce the price of fertizer its like middlemen have just swapped over. Small scale farmers need to reduce the dependence on these expensive fertilisers and explore other nature fertilisers like manure.

  4. #3 it’s not healthy to always agree on everything. Divergence is the spice of progress. Where are and it’s going to be worse because no Minister or PS or mayor or councillor can disagree with the president.

  5. There was some formula for you know who that showed how fertilizer was going to be reduced. Has he lost the piece of paper he wrote on? ”The United Party for National Development (UPND) President Hakainde Hichilema has promised to lower the price of a 50kg bag of fertilizer, which according to him, is currently costing them between K700 and K800.

    In a message to his supporters, Mr. Hichilema said that when his party forms the government in August, it will lower the price for the 50 kg bag of fertilizer to K250.”

  6. I will take an exceptional leader to develop NCZ and ZRL to full capacity as the elite are involved in procurement of fertiliser and haulage no matter which party is in govt…those silent rich Chipata Pakistanis just parties like seasons who would cut them out if they are donating millions in ruling party coffers.

  7. Guys if we can only understand politians don’t make solutions but create problems and blame other people fertilizer in eastern province because most farmers upto now have not received urea hunger is looming

  8. Why can`t the govt order directly from the source without these middlemen? Better still, simply recapitalize NCZ in order to cushion the demand in the agriculture sector. They say that that failure to plan is planning to fail.

  9. Yes he promised many things except he didn’t tell you how. The how was always giving us the enlightened reasons to label this punka a kelenka he is.
    He was talking cheap and that cheap talk got simple minds believing.
    Now it is the moment of truth. With it, the amatuer is exposed. With it, the IMF policies he is implementing, have got him on bad footing.
    His speculative economic prowess mantra is now not in the fit with reality. What a problematic 7months rough ride for the punka.

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