Adequate fertilizer pledge for Zimbabwe farmers


Nqobile Bhebhe,Bulawayo

Zimbabwe’s Fertiliser Manufactures Association has assured thousands of farmers that there would be enough fertiliser in the market for the 2018-19 farming season.

The country requires an estimated 500 000 tonnes of fertiliser for a successful summer cropping season, industry players say.

However, previous seasons have been grossly affected by acute shortages of the commodity.

Battling an acute foreign currency shortage and mounting economic challenges, the country has perennially struggled to mobilise sufficient financial resources for importation of adequate fertiliser for its farmers.

However, Tapiwa Mashingaidze, Fertiliser Manufactures Association spokesperson has allayed fears of shortages.

“There has been efficient allocation of foreign currency to the sector by the central bank towards end 2017  and there has been general improvement in the supply of top dressing fertiliser,”  he is quoted saying by state run media outlet, Herald.

The industry spokesperson is pinning hope on support from the new Government and renewed interest on people who wanted to invest in the country following the announcement of the new economic order.

“Following the coming in of the new leadership in the Government, there is renewed confidence among suppliers and a number of them have started helping our members.

“With the old dispensation, international suppliers were refusing with lines of credit. There was a lot of risk on their part to help us and there was also mistrust.

“Given that there has been collaboration and improved relationship with international suppliers, we want to make sure there will be more fertiliser in rural areas, growth points and farming communities. I can promise the nation that it will be possible for the forthcoming season,” he said.

This year, the agriculture sector is estimated to grow by 15.9 percent on the back of Government coordinated interventions in partnership with the private sector.

Early, January it was reported that fertiliser prices dropped by 7, 5 percent to as much as 20 percent.

The drop in prices was seen as a timely boost for farmers to improve productivity and increases prospects for a successful farming season.

Farmers had a tough time during the 2017/18 cropping season trying to access fertiliser, which was in short supply.

The product also came at a high price of US$38 per 50kg bag, slightly up from the 2016/17 season when AN fertiliser would fetch US$37 per 50 kg bag.

The Zimbabwe fertiliser industry now consists of at least 10 companies competing to supply the market comprising the Command Programme, the Presidential Schemes and the Cotton Scheme sponsored by the Government as well as privately funded contract schemes for tobacco and other crops.