FARMERS have been cautioned to stop buying re-packaged fertilizers that are insufficiently labelled or not labelled at all during this farming season.
According to Zambia Bureau of Standards head of marketing and public relations, Hazel Zulu, such fertilisers could adversely affect crop yields as they were usually mixed with non-nutrient adding materials.
“ZABS is concerned that some unscrupulous suppliers are taking advantage of the farming season to dupe unsuspecting consumers by selling them substandard fertilisers,” she said.
Ms Zulu said such activities had forced the bureau to intensify inspections of both local and imported fertiliser, especially during this farming season to ensure that farmers got value for their money.
“We want to inform the public that ZABS has actually increased the number of inspections on fertilizer consignments during the month of October compared with the previous months,
“A total of 632 import consignments were inspected in October compared with 461 in September and 320 consignments in August 2016,” she said.
Ms Zulu explained that the packaging should comprise correct and sufficient information on the type of fertiliser being sold, such as urea or D compound, with the nutrient content clearly stated, as well as the manufacturing date and the place of origin.
“Farmers and consumers in general are advised to also pay particular attention to the labelling of the fertilizer,
“Fertilizer is one of the products that fall under mandatory standards and is therefore subject to inspection and testing to ensure that it meets the requirements of the Zambian standards for fertilisers,” she said.