Fertilizer donated to Malawi stolen

Some of the donated fertilizer Malawi got from Russia has been stolen in Mozambique, it has been revealed.

The Platform for Investigative Journalism (PIJ) has revealed the theft of the donated at Beira in Mozambique.

Russian fertilizer company Uralchem donated 20,000 metric tonnes of fertilizer as part of its intiiative to address food insecurity.

Malawi Government included the donated fertilizer in the K180 billion Affordable Inputs Programme (AIP) in which farmers buy a bag of fertilizer at K15,000.

The donated fertilizer has been at Beira in Mozambique and Minister of Agriculture Sam Kawale told the local media last week that the “Russian fertilizer has started arriving in Blantyre.”

According to PIJ, Smallholder Farmers Fertilizer Revolving Fund of Malawi (SFFRFM), a government-owned company, contracted Manica to handle the fertilizer logistics and Manica subcontracted CEVA Malawi, CCIS Mozambique (a logistics company specialised in clearing cargo in Beira, warehousing, and packaging) and a Transport broker, Tanker Freight Company, which belongs to Riaz Patel

Patel confirmed to PIJ that there has been theft of fertiliser in Mozambique.

PIJ established through its sources that disgruntled transporters subcontracted by Patel who are yet to be paid since they commenced fertilizer transportation have been withholding the commodity and some of this fertilizer is being stolen and sold in Zambia.

“Four trucks with the following Mozambique horse registration numbers AJC 373, AAD 662 MC, AAG 420 MC and AFJ 386 MC went missing and reports suggest that two trucks went to Angonia Province and two remained here in Beira where they offloaded the fertilizer.

“Some people got the wind of it, leading to the arrest of one person linked to Patel, but the trucks and fertiliser have not been recovered.

“We are very much aware that these disgruntled transporters want to sell Malawi fertiliser to the Zambian dealers so that they can recover their money. We have reports that plans are afoot to sell at least 3000 tons to Zambian dealers,” a source told PIJ.

Reports also indicate that a Mozambican registered truck (registration number AHX 460) loaded 600 bags of UREA on December 28, 2022, and had not yet reached its destination in Malawi as of February 3.

Patel also told PIJ that “he single-handedly managed to catch the four trucks that had stolen the fertiliser and the trucks are now being detained by the Mozambican authority in Beira.”

He, however, claimed that he has managed to bring into the country 18,000 tons and will bring more fertilizer.

Reacting to the reports of theft of fertilizer amid allegations that the company is involved in the mess, CEVA Malawi’s parent company CEVA Logistics said it is closely working with the Smallholder Farmers Fertilizer Revolving Fund of Malawi, to resolve the situation in a manner agreeable to all parties.

“The product is currently under our secure control and being managed per the terms and conditions of the ,” the company said.

In Malawi, the multi-billion kwacha AIP program started last year but the program has been hampered by procurement fraud which saw government losing millions to scammers. There have also been delays in bringing fertilizer into the country and to supply the commodity to beneficiaries.

Minister of Agriculture Sam Kawale did not respond to PIJ when contacted.

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