The latest Tanzania National Sample Census of Agriculture published in August 2021 indicates that during the 2019/20 agricultural year, 2.8 million hectares, which is equivalent to 20.1% of the total cultivated area was applied with fertilizers.
Of these, 2.7 million hectares were in mainland Tanzania and 40,020 hectares in Zanzibar. Out of the total area applied with fertilizers, 60.6% was applied with organic fertilizers and 39.4% was applied with inorganic fertilizers.
Despite the efforts towards promoting the use of fertilizers in crop production, there has been low adoption in Tanzania, partly due to the high costs of inorganic fertilizers which are imported. The low uses of fertilizers contribute to low agricultural productivity in the country.
According to the document, policies should be geared towards attracting investment into the production of fertilizers in the country to lower the prices and attracts more farmers to use them.
Also, the intense use of organic fertilizers can be taken as an opportunity to explore niche markets that are willing to pay premium prices for organic foods.
Primary fertilizers used in Tanzania include urea, and the blends Di Ammonium Phosphate (DAP), calcium ammonium nitrate (CAN), and nitrogen-Phosphorous-Potassium fertilizer (NPK).
While the official government recommendation for one acre of maize production is 50 kg of urea and 50 kg of DAP, farmers on average apply fewer than nine kilograms of fertilizer per acre.
More than 90% of all fertilizers used in the country are imported and their price is high.