WITH the 2022/2023 summer cropping season fast approaching, the Government is going all out to ensure the 1 176 000 tonnes of fertiliser required for the 1 940 969 million hectares expected to be put under crops.
The Government is working closely with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce to capacitate the local fertiliser manufacturing industry in a bid to achieve self-sufficiency amid global supply chains disruptions as a result of the Russia and Ukraine war.
During a presentation at the on-going Zimbabwe Agricultural Show in Harare yesterday, chairman of the Fertiliser Manufacturers Association, Mr James Chigwende observed that the cooperation between Government and private sector was crucial to ensure that the country was capacitated to meet the national demand for fertiliser to avoid compromising projected production targets.
“The refurbishment of Sable Chemicals will enable it to produce 240 000 tonnes of top dressing fertiliser against the current stocks of 200 000 tonnes, which is an important step in the right direction as we try to avoid the challenges that we faced in previous season,” said Mr Chigwende.
Fertiliser is an important input for the coming 2022/2023 summer cropping season as the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Water, Fisheries and Rural Development is targeting to improve yields compared to the last summer season.
The extension of the Pfumvudza programme to accommodate 3, 5million households has exerted new pressures on the already stressed fertiliser stocks. The Pfumvudza Presidential Input Scheme will take up 317 000 tonnes of fertiliser and will be the biggest consumer followed by the National Enhanced Agriculture Productivity Scheme (NEAPS) and other private commercial farmers who will consume 237 000 and 220 000 respectively.
“Our re-stocking for last summer season was delayed because of the late payment for fertiliser meant for the winter cropping season,” said Mr Chigwende.
He stressed that the country learnt its lessons from the experience and was not going to walk that route again, as it headed into the new cropping season.
“Acquiring foreign currency has, however, remained our biggest challenge as the fertiliser industry as we need it for the procurement of some crucial raw materials,” Mr Chigwende explained.
More so, the Cabinet reported that 70 percent of the country’s soils are acidic and to ensure that the soils are limed the country needs 300 000 tonnes of lime and the local industry is investing in infrastructure to meet the demand.
Mr Chigwende further explained: “We have the capacity to produce more than we require especially on the basal fertiliser component and we can meet the national demand if we are equipped with the right tools.”