Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) has asked fertiliser importers to conform to set standards and requirements if the country is to become food secure.
Speaking during a press briefing on fertiliser imports requirements in Blantyre yesterday, MBS director general Symon Mandala said the bureau will continue monitoring fertiliser and conducting market surveillance activities to ensure that all conditions as stipulated under the law are followed.
He said: “We have noted with regret that some traders have taken our silent activities in standardising and ensuring quality assurance of commodities
for granted. We have, thus, thought it wise that we speak up and come in full force to ensure that everything is in line as the farming season is coming closer.
“We have also seen that when these unscrupulous traders dupe the buyers by misleading them, it is not only the innocent farmer that suffers but also it frustrates efforts by the government that is investing a lot of money in actualising the Affordable Inputs Programme [AIP].”
Mandala commended some members of the public for alerting the bureau on the malpractice and warned that all those found repacking fertiliser without MBS approval will face the law.
He also urged farmers to check for compatibility of fertiliser to their crops before applying it.
“To ensure that there is efficiency in the carrying out of all inspections and testing, we plan to send 24 officers who will each go to the districts in the country and inspect the quality of standards,” said Mandala.
Chipping in, MBS director of standards development Fred Sikwese said the organisation is yet to have a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with countries the fertiliser is imported from as a way of ensuring that substandard products from.
He said: “At the moment we do not have MoUs with countries that we are importing from as we do all the testing here in the country but that is an avenue that we plan to explore.
“We have arrangements on other products whereby statutory testing bodies in other countries in the region can do testing on our behalf and we accept the results from them.”
In the past, farmers have complained of underweight bags of fertiliser and MBS had confiscated bags of fertiliser that was reportedly mixed with dirt.