The Sunday News
Vusumuzi Dube, Online News Editor
GOVERNMENT has put in place measures to ensure the availability of fertiliser in the country for the current cropping season.
This came out during a post cabinet briefing on Tuesday, with the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Dr Jenfan Muswere reporting that the local fertiliser industry has an installed annual production capacity of more than 2 million metric tonnes of compound and blends.
He revealed that the industry is currently operating at 30 percent and the supply gap is being covered by imports.
“The nation is informed that 2023/24 summer crop preparedness indicates a total demand of fertilizer 1 422 500 tonnes, targeting 3 million households for strategic crops. It is reported that there will be a deficit of 990 317 tonnes of fertilizer for the current season. The country is reported to have 77 483 tonnes of stock and 354 700 tonnes in Collateral Management Agreement which requires US$460 million to unlock the stocks,” said Dr Muswere.
The Minister revealed that the country will import through a variety of potential schemes; the Dorowa Shawa Hills Project; and Wonderful Group of Zambia Joint Venture with Rusunguko/Nkululeko Holdings.
The joint venture is expected to bring in 50 000 metric tonnes of Basal fertiliser and 50 000 metric tonnes of Ammonia Nitrate.
“On innovative measures for local production of unique varieties of fertilizer; Cabinet advises that there is a Coal-to-Fertiliser project which is being pursued by Verify Engineering. Sable Chemicals (Pvt) Ltd is currently exploring the option of local ammonia gas production.
“The company is also exploring the production of Ammonia Gas using Natural Gas sourced from Muzarabani. The processes will utilize the locally available coal to develop ammonia-based fertilisers, thereby fulfilling fertiliser requirements,” said the Minister
“Furthermore, Sable Chemicals also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Invictus Energy which will enable the company to produce 240 000 tonnes of AN fertilizer and 360 000 tonnes of Urea. Sable is also pursuing the option of local ammonia gas production which includes the production of Green Ammonia using solar as the primary source of power,” he added.
He said other innovative measures which will be used to mitigate both the increased volumes and funding requirements for fertilizers will be to use super grades of fertilizers such as Super D instead of Compound D or Urea in place of Ammonium Nitrate.