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November 04, 2011

Malawi: Fake fertilizer on the market

by Wezzie Nkhoma Somba

With only a few weeks to the growing season, reports show that some traders are selling fake fertilizers believed to be a combination of fertilizer residues and stones, according to results of a laboratory analysis done at Chitedze Research Station in Lilongwe on samples that were collected from 320 bags of fertilizer.
“The fertilizer bagged in bags labeled 23:21:0+4S contain 2.1%N instead of 23%N and 0.15% P205 instead of 21% P205. The nutritional compositions of the product is far lower than what is being claimed to be 23:21:0+4S. The chemical composition of this product shows that this is an organic fertilizer (manure).

“The second product has high K content and very little of N and P content that cannot sustain growing of any crop. This product does not resemble muriate of potash that has a maximum of 62% and minimum of 58% of K20. The product contains too much insoluble materials: 99.3%. Hence it is not suitable as a fertilizer,” reads the analysis report dated October 10, 2011 and addressed to the Ntcheu Police officer-in-charge.

Signed by the National Research Coordinator, Soil and Agricultural Engineering a Dr. Makumba on behalf of the station manager, the analysis in conclusion says: “The product with lab No. 32981 may be used as organic fertilizer (manure) whereas product 32982 is not a fertilizer.”

In an interview Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Peter Mwanza warned farmers to avoid buying the commodity from some traders.“Farmers should buy their fertilizer from official selling points. They should avoid buying from the road side dealers. Official selling points can be identified by the presence of officials from Admarc, Anti- Corruption Bureau (ACB) and from the DC, so if these people are not there, that should tell you that it’s not an official selling point,” Mwanza said.

BNL Times

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