Mashudu Netsianda Bulawayo Bureau
UNITED Fertiliser Company Limited (UFCL), a Russian firm with a global footprint, has opened a distribution branch in Zimbabwe.
The latest development comes at a time when the Government under the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa has adopted the “Zimbabwe is Open for Business” policy aimed at attracting investors from both new and traditional markets to help revive the economy.
Notably, the development will also help reduce perennial shortage of fertiliser in the country due to shortage of foreign currency required by major manufactures, including Chemplex and Sable Chemical.
UFCL exhibited some of its products at the just ended Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in Bulawayo.
The company manufactures compound and blended fertilisers and supplies its products to farmers and commercial growers across Africa.
It is a subsidiary of Uralchem Group, a Russian manufacturer of a wide range of chemical products, including mineral fertilisers and ammoniac saltpetre.
According to the company, it is one of the largest producers of ammonium nitrate as well as the second largest producer of ammonia and nitrogen fertilisers in Russia.
UFCL is also a representative company of Uralkali, a Russian potash fertiliser producer and exporter.
It is listed on the Moscow Exchange.
UFCL marketing director, Maksim Poltoradnev, said they supply the best quality plant nutrients including comprehensive plant nutrition knowledge.
“UFCL is the representative company of the group of Russian manufacturers of fertilisers URALCHEM and Uralkali.
“It produces potassium chloride or potash and URALCHEM produces nitrogen-based fertiliser,” he said.
“Our production unit is in Russia and we distribute around the globe including Africa and in Zimbabwe we have just opened an office where we supply companies that import fertilisers and distribute to farmers.”
The Zimbabwean market offers a wide space for growth in terms of international cooperation and Russia has been giving strong assurances on the possibility of collaboration.
Of late, Russian companies have been keen to invest in Zimbabwe’s various industries as the two countries further explore areas of economic cooperation.
President Mnangagwa attended the Russia-Africa Summit 2019, which provided the first major step towards the elevation of Russia-Africa relations.
The Africa-Russia summit was established as a way to counter a socio-political and economic system, which was crafted by the West to force homogeneous thinking and behaviour.
In July, Zimbabwe participated at this year’s edition of Russia International Industrial Trade Fair (INNOPROM) in Ekaterinburg.
Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza led the business delegation, which included officials from the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency (ZIDA), Zimtrade, the CEO Roundtable, the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) and the Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe (IDCZ).
INNOPROM is the main industrial, trade and export platform in Russia.
Dr Nzenza was invited by Russia’s Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov who was also the fair’s main guest.
Zimbabwe and Russia enjoy excellent bilateral ties. Already, Zimbabwe is host to major gold, diamond and platinum mining investments by Russian companies.
These include the Russian-Zimbabwe platinum venture, Great Dyke Investments and the diamond mining partnership in which Alrosa, the largest diamond mining company in Russia, is in a joint venture with the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC).
Zimbabwe is currently exporting oranges to Russia and there is potential to increase exports of commodities such as garlic, ginger, macadamia, avocado, frozen fruits and vegetables as well as blueberries.