Parliament has passed the Fertilizer Bill, which seeks to regulate players in the industry.
The fertiliser industry is currently regulated by the Fertilizers, Farm Feeds and Remedies Act of 1970.
The law is however said to be outdated as it does not respond to contemporary challenges facing the industry.
Writing on his Facebook, page Minister of Agriculture, Sam Kawale explained that the regulation under the new law will be achieved through the establishment of the Malawi Fertilizer Regulatory Authority, which will be mandated to regulate the fertilizer industry.
Among other components in the passed bill are frameworks for fertiliser testing and field trials and a quality control mechanism as well as establishment of an Appeals Panel to ensure expeditious determination of appeals from decisions of the Authority.
In the statement, Kawale explained that penalties have been revised upwards to make them more deterrent to would-be-offenders.
It is expected that the Bill will enhance appropriate and efficient fertiliser regulatory framework and increase accessibility of premium fertiliser at national and worldwide levels.
The Bill is also expected to enhance growth of the local fertiliser industry to guarantee farmers’ access to high quality fertilizers and increase domestic and international fertiliser trading.
Kawale has further pointed out that availability, access to, and affordability of high quality fertiliser are key to ensuring high agriculture performance as underscored in the National Agriculture Policy.
Statistics from the agriculture ministry show that the sector employs over 70% of the total labour force, 70% of them being women.
In addition, it contributes significantly to the country’s export earnings and about 23% of the Gross Domestic Product.
Furthermore, the Malawi 2063 identifies agriculture as a priority that anchors the national development agenda with pillar one which is agricultural productivity and commercialisation.