Vietnam produces more than 8 million tonnes of fertilisers a year, meeting 80 percent of the domestic demand, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Speaking at a seminar in Can Tho earlier this week, Vo Van Quyen, head of the ministry's Market Department, said the country imports most of its ammonium sulphate, potassium, and DAP (diammonium phosphate) for its needs but is virtually self-sufficient in most others.

By 2015 it will fully meet its urea, phosphate and NPK (nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium) needs as well as 70-80 percent of DAP and 30 percent of SA needs, he said.

However, SA fertiliser has low content of protein and can be replaced with urea fertiliser, he said.

The department reported at the seminar that it carried out 1,057 inspections in the first half of the year and uncovered 258 cases of fake and low-quality fertilisers.

Nguyen Van Tuynh, deputy head of the department's southern office, said the problem of spurious and low-quality fertilisers has become complicated.

Quyen said to efficiently manage the market, it is necessary to inspect the quality of fertilisers produced and sold, balance supply and demand through storage policies, and regulate imports through tariffs.

Support policies are needed to improve the distribution system to reduce the number of layers of middlemen to stabilise prices, he said.

Deputy Minister Ho Thi Kim Thoa said it is necessary to strengthen inspections since the sale of fake and low-quality fertilisers has affected genuine traders and producers and farmers.

The Government has ordered the ministry to draft a new decree for the management of the fertiliser market, she said.

Under the decree, the ministry would manage inorganic fertilisers while the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development would manage organic ones, she said, adding penalties for violations would be made more stringent.-VNA