THE Lands and Agriculture ministry has warned farmers to be wary of unscrupulous dealers selling bio-fertiliser called Rhizobium inoculants.
A few weeks ago, government introduced a new fertiliser for farmers called Rhizobia bio-fertiliser, which is used for legumes. Unscrupulous dealers have, however, reportedly tampered with the fertiliser. This comes after government also warned a few weeks ago of fake seeds circulating on the market.
Lands and Agriculture ministry head of the Chemistry and Soil Research Institute Emmanuel Chikwari told participants during an inspection blitz of fertilisers that government has unearthed fake Rhizobia inoculants on the market.
“Farmers must be on high alert when buying Rhizobia inoculants. It has emerged that there are fake sachets of Rhizobia inoculants in the agro dealer shops in Harare CBD (central business district) being sold at producer prices of US$5 per sachet. The head of Chemistry and Soil Research Institute bemoans this sad development as there are fears that farmers are buying trash purported to be Rhizobia inoculants. Farmers must buy from reputable dealers,” he said, urging farmers to check the expiry dates of the fertilisers in order to be sure that what they are buying is still viable.
He said Rhizobia were living organisms which survived in sachets for six months.
“Criminals are taking advantage of packaging by producing look-alike material to confuse farmers,” he added, also warning that farmers must not buy from street dealers.