From George Maponga in MASVINGO
Zimbabwe requires an additional 45 000 tonnes of fertiliser this season as demand for the commodity has increased following a prolonged wet spell that is now beginning to affect the quality of the maize crop countrywide. Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Responsible for Cropping Davis Marapira yesterday said the prevailing wet spell was now taking its toll on the maize crop which now required fertilisers because of leaching.
Deputy Minister Marapira said farmers still required 30 000 tonnes of top dressing fertiliser and 15 000 tonnes of Compound D more, to ensure good maize yields this season.
“While the general state of the maize crop as of today (yesterday) is excellent countrywide the maize crop in areas such as Masvingo, Mashonaland East, West and Central provinces together with the Midlands province specifically in Gokwe needs fertilisers as the prevailing wet spell has caused leaching thereby affecting the quality of the maize crop in these areas,’’ he said.
He said Government had resumed fertiliser imports from South Africa adding that Treasury was expected to release more funds to procure the commodity locally.
“Importation of fertilisers is still ongoing but we want to support the local fertiliser companies by buying the commodity from them and we are expecting Treasury to release funds for the purchase of additional fertilisers that are required to make our farming season a success,’’ he said.
The deputy minister said if the shortage of fertilisers persisted, Zimbabwe would fail to meet its targeted maize harvest of 2,2 million tonnes this season.
Most parts of the country have been receiving incessant rains since New Year sparking high demand for fertilisers.
Government this year set a target to put about 1,6 million hectares under maize so that the country produces enough food for local consumption.