Munyaradzi Musiiwa, Business Correspondent
FERTILISER manufacturing companies have started importing the input following a timely intervention by the Government to direct the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to facilitate allocation of foreign currency to the firms, an official has said.
Zimbabwe Fertiliser Manufacturers Association chairperson and Zimphos chief executive officer Mr Tapiwa Mashingaidze said the country had imported a significant amount of fertiliser, mostly Ammonium Nitrate after RBZ allocated a substantial amount of foreign currency to fertiliser companies.
“We have imported a significant amount of fertiliser for this summer cropping season after we received a substantial amount of foreign currency from RBZ. Our national consumption of fertiliser every season is around 400 000 tonnes but to date we have imported more than 300 000 tonnes. We are still to compile information to ascertain the actual amount of imported fertiliser,” he said.
Mr Mashingaidze said the delay in distribution of fertiliser would have a negative impact on the country’s anticipated crop yield.
“Fertiliser should have been distributed to farmers earlier because for those using irrigation we are already in the mid-season where most crops start maturing.
“The advantage is only for those on the dry land because the rains delayed and only started coming towards the end of last month. There is still time for them to catch up,” he said.
The Zimbabwe fertiliser industry now consists of at least 10 companies competing to supply the market comprising the Command Programme, the Presidential Schemes and the Cotton Scheme sponsored by the Government as well as privately funded contract schemes for tobacco and other crops.
In the last two years, significant new investments have been made into additional blending plants which have seen the country having well over 1,2 million tonnes of installed capacity to produce NPK compounds and blends depending on the availability of raw material.