At least 1 610 bags of 1 860 subsidised 23:21:0 fertiliser delivered at Ebombeni Admarc Depot in the northern Malawi district of Mzimba contained sand.
Farmers from Chibamu Jere, Ebombeni and Mgubani villages in Traditional Authority Mâ€™mbelwa were on Saturday shocked with the discovery.
Speaking in an interview with the Malawi News Agency (Mana), group village head Chibamu Jere said the local committee went to sell fertiliser to farmers when it discovered that many bags had sand.
â€œWe went to Admarc depot to ensure that fertiliser was being sold to intended farmers. Before farmers started buying, some people decided to check fertiliser bags and this was when we discovered that many bags had sand.
â€œThis prompted the committee to report the matter to Mzimba Dado [district agriculture development officer] who came with some Admarc officials from Mzuzu. When they checked, they ordered us to buy only the 250 bags which contained good fertiliser,â€ said Jere.
Mzimba Dado Leonard Tchongwe could neither confirm nor deny the reports, saying officials from Admarc took some samples which will be sent to a research station for testing.Â
The incident comes after a similar one in Mangochi where a truck delivered fertiliser bags that contained sand.
Meanwhile, three suspects arrested on Friday for alleged theft of 307 bags of subsidised fertiliser were on Tuesday released on bail.
Hearing of the case continues on January 9 2013.
Southern Region Police spokesperson Nicholas Gondwa said businesspersons Alex Chikwembani, Kisswell Kankuta and driver Khama Njovuyalema pleaded not guilty to theft charges.
Gondwa said the trio were released after paying a bail bond of K20 000 each and ordered to surrender their travel documents.
He said they were also asked to report to Ndirande Police Station every Thursday.
Police in Blantyre intercepted the fertiliser bags in Dedza and arrested the three. The fertiliser was meant for beneficiaries in Zomba and Mulanje.
Gondwa said the fertiliser was recovered by Ndirande Police who found it on sale at Lizulu and Bembeke markets in Ntcheu and Dedza, respectively.