Drake Rukundo, a consultant on the fertilizer policy from the Economic Policy Research Center (EPRC) has said traders selling fake fertilizer to farmers take advantage of the absence of a sound policy legal framework.
Rukundo said the Fertilser Policy remains in a draft form since 2012. Rukundo said the policy provides for fertilizer development, importation and distribution.
Rukundo said this during a conference on the draft National Fertiliser Policy in Kampala.
It was organized by the EPRC, the ministry of agriculture animal industry and fisheries and the Alliance of a Green Revolution in Africa.
He noted that Uganda doesn't have a laboratory that can test the quality of fertilizers imported and there was need to develop one.
Rukundo said traders have expressed concerns about taxation on fertilisers yet they were exempted in the category of agro chemicals. He added that farmers have also complained about the high cost of fertilisers.
"Farmers would like to know how they tell genuine from fake fertilizers," Rukundo said. Okaasai Opolot, the ministry's director for crop resources said the use of fertilizer both organic and inorganic will be crucial towards enhancing agriculture production and productivity.
Okaasai said on average fertiliser use in Uganda is estimated at one kilogramme per hectares per year of applied nutrients compared to nutrient depletion of over 80 kilogrammes per hectare per year.
He compared this to other countries like Rwanda which has achieved annual fertiliser's usage of 29 Kgs per hectare, Kenya 35 Kgs per hectare, South Africa 60 Kgs per hectare and Netherlands 600kgs per hectare.
"The target is to increase the rate of use of fertilisers to 50 Kgs of nutrients per hectare within the next five years and eventually reach the recommended average of 200kg of nutrient per hectare per year," Okaasai noted.