The reduction in the price of fertiliser on the open market to about K240 this farming season from K450 last year will help farmers increase output, some farmers in Monze have said.

Currently, the bag of a 50-kilogramme bag of D-Compound fertiliser is selling at K245 and Urea at K237 in most retail shops in the district compared to last year’s K450 and K443 respectively.

According to a Zambia National Farmers’ Union (ZNFU) Friday brief, the farmers have, however, urged stakeholders such as Government to put control measures and not allow input prices to be increased like the case was last year.

“Farmers in Monze are happy with the current prices for agricultural inputs in the district [particularly, for fertiliser]. The farmers are hopeful that the prices of inputs which are currently quite favourable will remain the same throughout the farming season,” ZNFU says.

Meanwhile, a United Kingdom (UK) company, Russell IPM UK Limited has conducted a Tuta absoluta awareness seminar to enable farmers learn on the best use of available chemicals to control the pest.

Tuta absoluta is a pest that destroys leaves, produces large galleries and burrow into the fruit, and causes a substantial loss of tomato production.

The meeting attracted delegates from the Zambia Agricultural Research Institute, Zambia Environmental Management Agency, different departments in the Ministry of Agriculture, Tuta absoluta task force, tomato growers and ZNFU among others.

Some of the solutions discussed on the way forward to fight Tuta absoluta include pest control materials that are relatively non-toxic to people with few environmental side effects called bio-rational pesticides.

Other measures include safe bio-rational effective solution, bio-rational soil enhancer solution, mass trapping and pheromones.