Are Ugandan Farmers Using the Right Quality Inorganic Fertilizers?
The quality concerns of inorganic fertilizers on the Ugandan market is highlighted in this policy brief. The findings reported are an excerpt from a study that analysed the quality of inorganic fertilizers on the Ugandan market. The analysis was based on 170 samples (in 50 kg bags and small 1-2 kg packs) of the commonly used fertilizers on the Ugandan market i.e. urea, NPK, DAP and CAN were purchased and subjected to a laboratory analysis. Procedures followed in the purchasing of fertilizer samples mimicked a farmer purchasing fertilizers randomly from any input dealer country wide. Analytical results from the fertilizer samples revealed low quality fertilizers with moisture content above acceptable limits of 0.5-1.5 percent; and untruthfulness in both weight and nutrient content. In some instances, the nutrient content quoted on the labels did not match with the analytical content. This has serious consequences because fertilizer recommendations are based on the nutrient content. If the nutrients are not of the right quality, then the end-user (a farmer) will not attain the intended crop response to fertilizer application. The study findings reveal that re-packaging fertiliser into smaller quantities is justifiable to meet the requirements of smallholder farmers. Unfortunately, this leads to loss of nutrients (especially nitrogen); and also aggravates the high moisture content problem. Results reveal gaps in the current regulatory system; therefore there is an urgent need for government to approve and operationalize the fertilizer policy, regulations and strategy.