Adequate fertiliser for winter cropping

11 May, 2022 - 00:05 0 Views
Adequate fertiliser for winter cropping Sable Chemicals’ target is to produce 120 000 tonnes of Ammonium Nitrate for the 2022/23 farming season.

The Herald

Rumbidzayi Zinyuke and Fungai Lupande

Zimbabwe has enough fertiliser stocks to supply the 2022 winter cropping season as producers seek to increase local production and minimise imports.

Speaking at the post-Cabinet briefing yesterday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa, said the available stocks would be able to support the existing winter input programmes and other needs.

“Regarding the 2022 winter cropping season, the Cabinet wishes to inform the nation that the local fertiliser industry has adequate stocks to supply the existing Winter Input Programmes as well as other commercial and retail needs,” she said.

“The available fertiliser 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.”

Zimbabwe has set a target of 75 000 hectares to produce 383 500 tonnes of wheat this winter, while 7 000 hectares have been targeted for barley production.

No winter maize production is envisaged this year as efforts are directed at ensuring sufficient wheat for the country.

Wheat production is funded by the CBZ Agro-Yield, AFC Land Bank and private sector contribution with small-scale farmers being part of the Presidential Inputs Scheme.

Wheat planting started at the end of last month and this year’s crop is expected to be vibrant.

“Cabinet notes that the fertiliser production sector plays a critical role in ensuring successful agricultural production which is the bedrock of our economy,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.

“Government is thus looking at ways of recapitalising the sector, including through listing on the stock exchange in order to attract suitable investors.”

Minister Mutsvangwa said the local fertiliser industry was 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 fertiliser imports,” she said.

“To this end, the Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe (IDC) has invested into the local fertiliser value chain from extraction of phosphates to the granulation of basal fertilisers.”

IDC is modernising its operations at its subsidiaries at Dorowa Minerals and Zimphos in order to increase production, while Sable Chemicals secured a loan from Afreximbank for the refurbishment of its plant and equipment as well as purchasing rail tank cars.

Sable Chemicals’ target is to produce 120 000 tonnes of Ammonium Nitrate for the 2022/23 farming season.

Presently, annual national demand for fertilisers stands at 350 000 tonnes of phosphates and 250 000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate.

Minister Mutsvangwa said although the local fertiliser industry was operating at 30 percent of its capacity utilisation, indications were that local production was increasing leading to the reduction of imports.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe also has sufficient agriculture lime up to the 2023/2024 agricultural season following the revival of dolomite mining in Rushinga.

Local dolomite mining is set to cut lime imports and spur development in the district in line with President Mnangagwa’s vision of an upper middle income economy by 2030.

National demand for agricultural lime is around 300 000 tonnes per annum and the mining company, Group of Work (G&W) Industrial Minerals is producing 100 000 tonne per annum of agricultural lime.

G&W Industrial Minerals is investing in a US$3 million plant, which will produce 300 000 tonne per annum of both agricultural lime and high mesh lime flour.

Apart from agricultural lime, the company is also producing stock feed lime and oxide pigments.

Minister of State in Charge of Monitoring the Implementation of Special Agriculture and Related Programmes, Davis Marapira, visited the G&W Industrial Minerals recently.

He said all along, lime was being imported from the region, but the production of lime in Rushinga will act as an import substitution, saving Zimbabwe a lot of foreign currency.

The company is also producing hydrated lime used in water treatment.

“I am pleased with this project and there is little need from the Treasury to help Rushinga. Over 1 000 local people will be employed through these projects,” he said.

“The Presidential Inputs Scheme includes 80kg of lime. All farmers from rural set ups will have access to lime in Rushinga through this project.

“This mine will employ over 1 000 people and the company needs help in financing the construction of staff accommodation. There is a need for a clinic due to a lot of dust generated at the plant.”

Minister Marapira said the mine was not functional until after the Second Republic’s concerted efforts to revitalise agriculture industries.

G&W was founded in 1969 under G&W Base in South Africa.

The company’s general manager Mr Varison Makaya said the current plant has a capacity of 100 000 tonnes per annum of agricultural lime.

“However, we are in the planning Phase 2 of the second plant which is to produce 300 000 tonnes per annum of both agricultural lime and high mesh lime flour,” he said.

“The capital injection required for the second plant is US$3 million and mining will be done in Rushinga.”

Since July 2021, the company has bought a new transformer, installed a bigger crusher for 45 tonnes per hour to match the main plant and building of the plant shell

They also drilled two boreholes which are also used by the community and installed a bigger material hopper.

G&W chairperson Mr Winston Makamure said the company’s future plans include engaging investors for partnerships, shareholder investors as well as internally funded projects and expansion.

“We need about US$6 million dollars to produce hydrated lime for supply to all municipalities in Zimbabwe. The Cabinet has made a resolution in treatment of potable water and we are going to put a plant,” he said.

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