By Faith Kadzanja:
The Ministry of Agriculture has said it is waiting for the new cabinet to table the Fertiliser Policy.
Among other things, the policy aims at increasing by 75 percent the number of farmers accessing high quality fertiliser through commercial channels.
Speaking in Lilongwe on Monday during a Fertiliser Quality Assurance and Management Meeting that was organised by African Fertiliser and Agribusiness Partnership (Afap), Principal Soil and Plant Nutrition Scientist in the Department of Agriculture Research Services, Moses Munthali, said the ministry is waiting for the Cabinet ministers that will be appointed to table the policy.
He also said after the policy, the ministry will start working on the Fertiliser Bill.
“We need this policy as it is going to be the first policy regarding fertiliser that we are going to have. Once it is approved by the Cabinet we can now start working on the fertiliser bill to update it and develop some regulations. This will be done once the Cabinet is in place,’’ he said.
According to Munthali, farmers are crying foul as some people sell them fake fertilisers.
“There are so many issues that have come up in the fertilizer sector, for example, issues of using fertilizers that are area specific but also that are crop specific. We want this policy to address these issues. We also want to improve the accessibility of quality fertilisers to the farmers,’’ he said.
Afap Country Programmes Manager, Phyness Thembulembu, said there was need for agro-dealers to advise farmers on the right fertiliser for their crop.
“When a farmer goes to a shop, the agro-dealer should be able to ask the farmer what crop they want to apply the fertiliser and explain to them the type of fertiliser which is ideal,’’ she said.
The policy also aims at increasing the number of private sector investors in the fertiliser industry by 100 percent.
President Peter Mutharika recently said that the new Cabinet would be ready by June 21.
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