Zim set for fertiliser self-sufficiency

Source: Zim set for fertiliser self-sufficiency | Sunday Mail (Business)

Business Reporter

Zimbabwe now has capacity to produce over 1,2 million tonnes of fertiliser, which would make the country self-sufficient in terms of the supply of the commodity, Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza said.

Zimbabwe has been striving to reduce its reliance on imports which gobbled nearly US$800 million in the past five years.

Last year, the country developed a five-year strategic roadmap meant to boost output of fertiliser by local companies and to support agricultural transformation drive.

The current demand is 630 000 tonnes for compounds, blends and top dressing split as 330 000 tonnes compounds and blends and 300 000 tonnes top dressing.

“The country now has well over 1,2 million tonnes of installed capacity to produce NPK (nitrogen, phosphate and potassium) compounds and blends including current new investments underway,” Dr Nzenza said of Friday.

Dr Nzenza said the fertiliser industry was prepared to meet the demand during the forthcoming season for both state assisted farming programmes and for commercial.

As of August 20, 2021, the fertiliser industry had 264 000 tonnes of raw materials that would produce 187 000 tonnes of NPK compounds and blends and 77 000 tonnes of urea and ammonium nitrate.

The planned production from August to December is 375 000 tonnes of NPK fertiliser, 26 000 tonnes of AN while 200 000 tonnes of top dressing will be imported.

Within the five-year, supply strategy under National Development Strategy 1 agenda, the fertiliser industry will focus more on import substitution and local beneficiation through exploiting the local phosphates value chain from Dorowa and ZimPhos for production of compound D.

For the 2021/22 summer season Dorowa and ZimPhos will produce phosphates that will translate into a three fold rise in Compound D output to 75 000 tonnes.

This production level will increase over five years to 300 000 tonnes after commissioning of ongoing projects which will enhance import substitution, foreign currency savings, local beneficiation, industrialization, low-cost fertiliser and employment creation.

Similar capacity enhancement project is underway for increased local production of AN at Sable Chemical Industries from current 50 000 tonnes to over 150 000 tonnes.

Sable has secured a loan from Afreximbank for plant refurbishment project to be implemented in the  next 18 months.

On the other hand, Zimphos has been availed $42,5 million concessionary funding through the Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe for the installation of a new granulation plant for phoshates from Dorowa.

This is part of re-tooling to ensure the industry increases capacity

“It is helpful if farmers and all the major schemes supported by the Government to begin buying, collecting and paying for their requirements of fertilizers well before the rains,” said Dr Nzenza.

“This will avoid the problematic bunching that leads to excessive pressure on the industry and short-term stock outs associated with the supply chain failing to cope with huge instant demand.

“Early offtake by the market also improves the industry’s ability to meet demand through working capital replenishment and reducing the maximum level of cash that has to be tied up in stocks.”