Nyiombo denies distribution of substandard fertilizer

NYIOMBO Investment Limited has denied ever engaging an agro dealer in the name of Lupupa Agro Dealer or Miningu Mines and Fertilizer to supply substandard D compound fertilizer to farmers in Nchelenge and Mansa in Luapula Province.

Nyiombo Investment has also commended the Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) for its alertness and quick move to investigate and halt the distribution of the sub-standard fertilizer using Nyiombo branded bags.

Nyiombo Investment operations manager Khwazi Dlamini said while his company was reluctant to comment on the matter, it was unfortunate Lupupa Agro Dealer and Miningu Mines and Fertilizer were packaging their sub-standard fertilizer in Nyiombo bags and were supplying to unsuspecting farmers.

He said under no instance had Nyiombo engaged Lupupa Agro Dealers and Fertilizer and Miningu Mines of Tanzania to supply and retail the sub-standard fertilizer to farmers in Luapula Province as was discovered by ZABS.

Mr Dlamini has appealed to ZABS to engage Nyiombo in the future if there would be occurrences where it would be suspected that some people were engaging in supplying fertilizer to farmers that did not meet the requirements.

He said however that Nyiombo was happy that ZABS had quickly moved in and halted the supplying of sub-standard fertilizer which could have flooded the market.

“It is unfortunate that the named agro dealer, Lupupa Agro Dealer/Miningu Mines and Fertilizer is supplying substandard product because it is misrepresenting the Nyiombo brand. Under no instance has Nyiombo engaged Miningu Mines of Tanzania/Lupupa Agro Dealer and Fertilizer of Tanzania  to supply and retail fertilizers as reported in the findings by ZABS. We would also like to appeal to ZABS going forward to engage us in case of such future occurrences to also assist and encourage farmers to also be vigilant when they come across such fertilizers in the market,” Mr Dlamini said.

He cautioned the general public and farmers to purchase Nyiombo fertilizer only from approved dealers across the country, stating that the company was committed to supplying quality fertilizer to farmers so that they could have good yields.

ZABS recently seized 92 bags of ‘D’ compound fertilizer worth K35,700 from Nchelenge and Mansa districts in Luapula which was being supplied to farmers because it was sub-standard.

ZABS head of marketing and public relations Hazel Zulu, said 50 bags valued at K21,000 were confiscated from Mansa alone while 42 bags worth K14,700 were found at Nchelenge prison on June 13.

She said the fertilizer had been packaged and labeled as a product of Nyiombo Investments Limited (Eastern Central Africa) and Minjingu Mines and Fertilizers of Tanzania.

Ms Zulu said ZABS was currently investigating the matter to ensure that the product was completely removed from the market to safeguard the environment while protecting consumers.

She said the fertilizer was confiscated because it failed all the principle elements stipulated in the standard for D compound fertilizers ZS 431:2014 which specified the requirements for the nutrient content in compound fertilizers.

“We also urge members of the public to remain vigilant and report any products that they believe to be compromised or substandard. We would also like to commend the quick action by Mansa Prison authorities who took the initiative to ensure that they had the product tested to confirm its quality,” Ms Zulu said.