Smallholder Farmers Fertiliser Revolving Fund of Malawi (SFFRFM) has blamed the Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) of engaging in blame games instead of finding ways of disposing expired fertilisers that has been quarantined for years in warehouses.
This comes after MBS called importers, traders and distributors who are still stocking expired products to voluntarily declare to the bureau for proper disposal.
In a press release titled importation, distribution, sale and use of expired products in Malawi las week, MBS singled out SFFRFM for stocking expired 2000 metric tonnes of super D, compound D and granular urea in their warehouses.
“It has been observed that there is a tendency by some organisations conniving with suppliers to distribute such substandard products on loan to employees especially during this festive and growing season,” reads part of the release signed by MBS director general Davlin Chokazinga.
But documents that business news has seen, dated November 12 2017 indicates that the expired fertiliser that MBS claims to have found during their recent surveillance at an SFFRFM warehouse was already under quarantine by MBS and belonged to African Fertilisers Limited who were only renting space.
In an interview, SFFRFM chief executive officer Andy Kalinde said their warehouses have a lot of fertiliser under quarantine by MBS with some quarantined as long as four years ago but MBS is yet to dispose the fertilisers.
“The expired fertiliser does not belong to us. All our fertilisers on the market was manufactured this year but we own warehouses and rent space to other traders who pay us a lot of money, we have quarantined and sealed fertiliser and other chemicals in our warehouses as well and MBS is already aware of this.
“It is unfortunate that MBS has presented the issue in this way when they know pretty well about this issue, what they need to do is find ways of disposing the fertilisers like they do with other confiscated products other than bullying people around through the media” said Kalinde.
In September this year, MBS seized 1 000 tonnes of expired NPK, Super D and D Compound chemical fertilisers manufactured by Blue Deebaj, a Dubai based company at a Rab Processors warehouse and was being re-packaged for sale.
The fertiliser had expired in 2014 and 2016 but was being repackaged with a 2021 expiry date.
MBS engaged the media on the issue but later on cleared Rab Processors of the charges saying the Fertilisers belonged to African Importers Limited, something that did not go well with the parliamentary committee on agriculture.
The committee probed MBS on the expired fertiliser as they suspected fishy business.
But in an interview, the committee chairperson Joseph Chidanti-Malunga said the information at hand is sketchy at the moment and that the committee needs time to talk to MBS and SFFRFM to get to the bottom of the issue.
He added that if MBS issued a press statement on the same, it means they conducted their research.