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Fake fertilisers floods the market

by Staff reporter
02 Aug 2020 at 09:15hrs | Views
AN influx of fake fertilisers has hit the market in Zimbabwe as bogus dealers take advantage of the product's expensiveness in the formal market to the unsuspecting farmers, Standardbusiness has established.

Farmers have started preparing for the 2020/21 summer cropping season.

A survey conducted by Standardbusiness showed that bogus fertiliser traders were buying genuine fertiliser, halve it and making up the difference with quarry dust before selling it to unsuspecting farmers.

"I bought a 50kg bag of Compound D fertiliser last week in Bulawayo thinking it was genuine.

"However, when I got home I realised that I had been duped as the fertiliser was mixed with quarry dust and sand," a communal farmer said.

Farmers said they were being lured by cheap prices.

A 50kg bag of Compound D fertiliser from reputable producers is pegged at about $2 300, while top dressing fertiliser is selling at around $2 900.

But bogus traders sell the products at half the prices.

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers' Union (ZFU) vice-president Maiwepi Jiti said fake fertiliser had always been around for a number of years now.

"Bogus fertiliser dealers have always cheated unsuspecting farmers," Jiti said.

"Some bogus business traders, especially in Mbare, have always been selling this fake fertiliser, which is a mixture of sand, quarry dust and other materials being passed off as fertiliser.

"The fake fertiliser is sold at half the price of genuine fertiliser from reputable companies and shops and this attracts unsuspecting farmers."

She said farmers should desist from buying from unregistered traders.

"Chemicals and fertiliser companies have reputable traders across the country where it's safe and where they are assured of buying genuine products and where the farmers are issued with a receipt and if they are dissatisfied with the product, it is their right to take the product back or lodge a complaint with the manufacturer," Jiti said.

"It is so sad to find out that there are still farmers, who prefer buying fertilisers from under-the-tree thereby risking their hard-earned cash by buying sand or quarry dust instead of fertiliser."

Jiti urged farmers to find out about reputable fertiliser companies from farmers' union representatives in their respective areas or from Agritex officers to avoid being robbed.

ZFU president Abdul Nyathi weighed in, saying "this is a serious challenge we have been having over the years. Bogus traders sell fake fertiliser to unsuspecting farmers."

"This is caused by the fact that genuine fertiliser from reputable companies and shops is too expensive," Nyathi said.

"There is a need for farmers and fertiliser producers to come together and agree on a price that is affordable.

"Secondly, farmers should learn to work together so that they are able to avoid such things." Criminal elements also reportedly take advantage of unsuspecting farmers by selling them

uncertified fake seed on the market.

The sale of fake fertiliser has continued despite police crackdowns on the unscrupulous traders.

Source - the standard