K250 fertiliser price not attainable – expert
By NOEL IYOMBWA
IT is impossible to reduce the price of 50 kilogramme bag of fertiliser to K250, former National Union for Small-Scale Farmers general secretary Frank Kayula has said.
During the campaigns for the August 12 elections, President Hakainde Hichilema promised to lower the price of a 50kg bag of fertiliser, which was costing between K700 and K800.
Mr Hichilema had promised that when the UPND formed government, it would lower the price for the 50 kg bag of fertiliser to K250.
But Dr Kayula said in an interview that the price of the commodity could only be made affordable to small-scale farmers.
He explained that the only way was for the government to ensure that players get a minimal profit.
“It is close to impossible to reduce the price of fertiliser to K250 unless foreign currency depreciates against the Kwacha. Government can only make the price affordable to small-scale farmers by engaging the players,” he said.
Dr Kayula said that the price of fertiliser could only be reduced when the Kwacha appreciates against the dollar, adding that even if that happens, it could never be reduced to K250.
Meanwhile, Dr Kayula appealed to the Ministry of Agriculture to allow agro dealers to start distributing fertiliser.
He observed that fertiliser has been given to agro dealers but the government has not given a go-ahead to start distributing.
Dr Kayula, who is now KRI Zambia Chief Executive Officer, said that farmers need to start preparing adequately hence the need for the government to start distributing the input on time.
“I have been to Luapula and other areas and one thing I have observed is that agro dealers in most districts have not been given a go-ahead to start distributing fertiliser.
“Government should not be dilly dallying, farmers need to prepare adequately, someone senior at the ministry of agriculture should just give a go ahead, “he said.