Fertiliser import bill soars as global prices rise

TANZANIA import bill for fertilisers is sharply increasing as global prices of the agriculture inputs soared to record high.

According to Bank of Tanzania (BoT) statistics, import value of fertilisers surged by 155 per cent from 237 million US dollar in 2020/21 fiscal year to 605.4 million US dollar in 2022/23 fiscal year.

At the same time, fertiliser imports decreased by 40 per cent from 662,868 metric tonnes in 2020 to 395,033 metric tonnes in 2021, according to statistics published in the Fertiliser Statistics Overview by Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

The overview is published from official trade data obtained from Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) and Tanzania Fertiliser Regulatory Authority (TFRA) and validated by Fertiliser Technical Working Group – Tanzania (FTWG-TAN).

One major factor that contributed to the 40 per cent decrease in import volume in 2021 was the high prices of fertilisers in the world market which affected both supply and demand.

Fertiliser prices have eased from their early 2022 peaks but they remain at historically elevated levels.

The surge in fertiliser prices began with the Covid-19 crisis, which disrupted supply chains and then intensified with Russia and Ukraine war.



Russia is one of the world’s leading fertiliser producers. The government launched a massive fertiliser subsidy programme in August 2022 for the 2022/23 season to make fertilisers more affordable to farmers as part of efforts to boost agriculture productivity.

According to the Minister for Agriculture, Hussein Bashe, the price for DAP went down from 131,675/- per bag to 70,000/- and Urea dropped from 124,714/- to 70,000/-.

The price for a bag of CAN went down from 108,156/- to 60,000/- while that of NPKs, which cost 122,695/- dropped to 70,000/-.

To make the subsidy scheme effective, the government introduced online registry for farmers who would benefit from subsidised fertiliser to curb smuggling of the input.

Registration exercise had reached 1.3 million farmers one month after it was introduced in September 2022, Mr Bashe said in his X, formerly twitter, platform.

Tanzania Fertiliser Regulatory Authority Executive Director, Dr Stephan Ngailo said during a symposium that 194.3 tonnes of fertiliser had been purchased as of January 09, 2023.

According to Dr Ngailo, about 560,451 farmers have benefited from the new system, thanks to President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s approval of 150bn/- for fertiliser subsidy in the 2022/23 budget for the Ministry of Agriculture.

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