Barely a month after 146 bags of subsidy fertilizers were found filled with sand in Mangochi, another incident of similar nature has occurred in the district with farmers currently buying paper pieces, sand and wood shavings mixed fertilizer, Nyasa Times has established.
Farm Input Subsidy Programme (Fisp) beneficiaries who are currently buying the cheap fertilizer are having a rude awakening as in most of the bags the content is mixed with foreign materials not usable in farming.
The irregularity was firstly noted on Monday (November 26) this week when farmers from villages of Chiwaula, Mtalimanja and Kuyitambo in Traditional Authority (T/A) Mponda experienced the ordeal at Smallholder Farmers Fertilizer Revolving Fund.
The farmers could not believe their eyes with what the fertilizer was mixed with after one of the buyers discovered in one of the bags a 1.3kg stone mixed with sand, an incident that has raised fears in the districts on the authenticity of the distributed fertilizer.
According to one of the victims, Patuma Bwanali of Mtalimanja village, the most affected fertilizer is the organic NPK 23:10:+4s+1zm supplied by Optchem.
“I found a stone in my bag and others found also sorts of stuffs like sand, shavings, rotten maize. We reported the issue to the selling officers at the Smallholder Farmers Fertilizer Revolving Fund depot who called the agriculture officials who came and verified the stuff found in our fertilizer bags,” said Bwanali.
One of the workers at the Smallholders Farmers Fertilizer Revolving Fund while confirming the issue disclosed to Nyasa Times that the matter has been referred to agriculture authorities in the district.
“Over 100 bags were found mixed with foreign materials, we communicated to our bosses and agriculture officials are already aware of the incident. It’s something that is if anybody wants to come and very will confirm because it’s not a hidden issu,e” said the official.
Efforts to talk to the agriculture authorities in the district proved futile as their office phones went unanswered.
“I am currently keeping the stone, if they need proof they can come and verify. At mean time it’s only the NPK fertilizer which is on the market in the district and it is obvious there are more bags which are mixed with foreign material,” added Bwanali.
The Mangochi incident occurred days before about 1,610 sand mixed fertilizer was found at Ebombeni Admarc depot in Mzimba. Last month 146 bags were also found containing sand at Katuli Admarc depot in Mangochi.
And police arrested Optchem boss and other people in connection to Mangochi incident.
Last week Minister of Agriculture Professor Peter Mwanza admitted disparities in the distribution of coupons under Fertilizer Subsidy Programme with some districts not yet supplied with the vouchers.
This year’s subsidy programme has been rocked with several irregularities from trimming of number of beneficiates in some districts, some traders being nabbed for selling the subsidised fertiliser on the black market while fake coupons have find its way into the market.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :