The Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) has pledged to fight against the importation and distribution of substandard fertilizers of which farmers have been complaining of not being adequate in boosting crop yields and interfering with normal crop growth.
The move was unveiled yesterday as MINAGRI officials visited farmers’ cooperatives in Huye and Gisagara districts explaining them about the Ministerial order indicating guidelines for sales of fertilizers and pesticides.
The MINAGRIs announcement was a response to farmers who complained about the substandard fertilizers and pesticides distributed to farmers.
“We sometimes buy and apply fertilizers or pesticides but notice no improvement in our yields. We want you to explain the cause or undertake research to establish the cause,” said Jean Damascène Semwiza, a farmer in Huye district.
“It would be better if MINAGRI carries out research on the matter. Farmers lose confidence they receive substandard fertilizers and pesticides.We want a reaction from MINAGRI,” said another farmer, Jacqueline Mukagatari.
The same complaint came out in Gisagara from farmers who attended the meeting.
Responding to the issue, MINAGRI officials attributed it to stampeding fertilizers on the market without following proper channels promised to address the it under the ministerial order No 002 of July 14th, 2016 indicating guidelines of importing, distribution and applying fertilizers and pesticides.
Dr Emmanuel Ngomiraronka, a consultant with the a Fertilizer Programme at MINAGRI informed farmers that the new ministerial order lists fertilizers allowed to be imported. “The Ministerial Order on fertilizers was crafted to regulate imports that enter the country as contraband,” he said.
Dr Ngomiraronka urged local leaders to collaborate with farmers and sellers of fertilizers to be cautious and avoid such substandard fertilizers and pesticides on the market.
MINAGRI officials say that whoever wants to place orders for fertilizers from abroad to be sold is required to have at least a Bachelors degree in Biochemistry or in Agriculture Sciences and a permanent place of abode for the business.