Fertilizer production to increase

Staff Reporter

Government is setting up mechanisms to increase the production of fertilizer as a way of reducing imports and assisting farmers.

Addressing the media after the 12th Cabinet session, the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Senator Monica Mutsvangwa, said that the fertilizer production sector was accelerating the implementation of the Government’s plan to increase local production of fertilizers.

“Cabinet wishes to inform the nation that the local fertilizer industry is accelerating the implementation of the Five-Year Fertiliser Import Substitution Roadmap (2020-2024). The objective is to increase local production of phosphates and ammonium nitrate in order to reduce fertilizer imports,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.

Minister Mutsvangwa added that the Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe (IDC) has invested into the local fertilizer value chain, from extraction of phosphates to the granulation of basal fertilizers. She added that the company was modernising operations at its subsidiaries, at Dorowa Minerals and Zimphos, in order to increase production.

The Minister further informed that Sable Chemical has secured a loan from Afreximbank for the refurbishment of its plant and equipment as well as purchasing rail tank cars.

According to Minister Mutsvangwa, Sable Chemicals’ target was to produce 120 000 metric tonnes of Ammonium Nitrate for the 2022/23 farming season. 

The Minister added that fertilizer production sector plays a critical role in ensuring successful agricultural production and Government was looking at ways of recapitalizing the sector, including through listing on the stock exchange in order to attract suitable investors.

Minister Mutsvangwa noted that although the local fertilizer industry was currently operating at 30 percent of its capacity utilization, indications are that local production was increasing leading to the reduction of imports.  

Meanwhile, regarding the 2022 Winter Cropping Season, Minister Mutsvangwa said that the local fertilizer industry has adequate stocks to supply the existing Winter Input Programmes as well as other commercial and retail needs. She said the available fertilizer includes carry-over stock from the previous season and stocks under the Collateral Management Arrangement (CMA), which will be released once the required funding has been disbursed.