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Fertiliser prices to increase: Ministry of Agriculture

Friday 13 January 2023 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Local, National

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Fertiliser prices to increase: Ministry of Agriculture
Te Ngamata at his taro farm in Matavera is upbeat despite the impending increase in fertiliser prices sold by the Ministry of Agriculture. LOSIRENE LACANIVALU

Ministry of Agriculture has announced there will be an increase in the price of fertiliser they sell to local growers.

Head of the ministry, Temarama Anguna-Kamana said: “The supply chain disruptions resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic and the impacts of the ongoing war in Ukraine have contributed to a significant increase in world market prices of key commodities such as grains, fertiliser, crude oil, and animal feeds, all of which are critical inputs for the efficient and proper functioning of national food systems.”

“We see the rising prices and trends, particular in the Pa Enua, demonstrating the heavy impact of the crisis not only on domestic prices but also on agriculture and fisheries production costs.”

Anguna-Kamana added the farming inputs brought in by the ministry have also been affected.

“Therefore we advise that the price of fertiliser we sell has to be increased also. 

“Unfortunately, this is a situation that is out of our control. We are exploring options to reduce the negative impact this price increase will have on our farmers by seeking support from our development partners for possible subsidies.”

Matavera taro farmer Te Ngamata, 60, said he expected the increase due to the impacts of the pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war.

“It is time we, the farmers, also put something back to the ministry to help with revenue. They bring the fertiliser and we buy it. We both benefit.”

However, Ngamata said they would welcome assistance or grants provided by the ministry to help farmers with their production.

He also called on farmers to share their knowledge and skills about organic or natural fertilisers.

Taro grower Louis Tauira of Tupapa said increases in the cost of fertiliser, machineries and other expenses could “push farmers to stop planting”.

“Cost of living in Rarotonga is expensive. As a taro grower there are other cost involved being a farmer, you have employees to pay, cost to maintain equipment and tools, freight and delivery, families to feed, etc,” Tauira said.

“With the additional rise (of costs), in fear and concern it will force us farmers to increase our crop sales (prices) and with this it could affect our sales.”

Tauira said when they started farming, they purchased fertiliser from the ministry but over time they found another supplier.

“Being a taro grower for many years, over time you find alternative ways and techniques and secrets to planting.

“Some may require other grade fertilisers and some don’t, but it all comes down to how you grow them.”

Tauira said good grade soil and quality fertiliser helps speed the process of the planting.