Minagri hands over fertiliser distribution to private dealers

Plans to facilitate private companies to import and distribute fertilisers in the country are underway, a top official has said.
Farmers, like these in a rice paddy in Ngoma District, will buy fertlisers from private companies .  The New Times/File.
Farmers, like these in a rice paddy in Ngoma District, will buy fertlisers from private companies . The New Times/File.

Plans to facilitate private companies to import and distribute fertilisers in the country are underway, a top official has said.

This follows news that the Ministry of Agriculture plans to cease the importation and distribution of fertilisers. Minagri has been overseeing the activity through its private distributors in each district. 

So far, ENAS, Top Service and Tubura will be importing the fertilisers and sell them to distribution companies or agro-dealers, which will, in turn, will sell them to cooperatives or individual farmers.

According to Egide Gatali, the head of fertilisers inspection at Minagri, the new system will start with the next agriculture season, due to start in September.

Minagri will take mobilisation campaigns in all districts to bring together import and distribution companies, agro-dealers, farmers and financial institutions to discuss the new system and come up with the memorandum of understanding to make the business successful.

 While presenting the new system to agro-dealers and bank managers in Muhanga District, last week, Gatali said that “the whole system has been privatised”.

“There will not be any credit from the government or a subsidised price. The ministry will only set a working framework,” he said.

However, he noted, farmers who will manage to consolidate 50 hectares of land and they will be helped to get fertilisers on credit, with the support from the ministry.
Working with banks

Josiane Karisoni Iradukunda, the Head of Crop Intensification Programme, urged dealers to establish strong ties with financial institutions so that they can benefit from the new system.

“Agro-dealers need money to make their business efficient and banks need profits. Give them that money and you will all have what you want [profits],” Karisoni told bank managers.

She also urged farmers to tap into the business opportunities.  With the new system, the net profit on one kilo is due to increase from Rwf15 to Rwf30, according to officials.

Data released in 2008 by the National Bank of Rwanda indicates that the banking system’s agricultural credit portfolio was only beteen 3 per cent and 4 per cent of total business credit. The gap is attributed to the lack of information on the sector’s risks and products and heavy interest rate required by banks. But farmers don’t have enough financial literacy and lack guarantee to support them.

As a way forward, Minagri advocates for a synergetic work as a team at district level, where all stakeholders will create a kind of platform under which problems raised will be discussed and solutions sought.

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