ZIMBABWE is working on a $56 million facility with the African-Export and Import Bank (Afreximbank) to support importation of fertiliser for the forthcoming agriculture season. The amount would be part of the $150 million facility being negotiated by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to import cooking oil material and fuel, central bank governor Dr Mangudya said.
Following the success of the specialised import substitution programme (Command Agriculture), the importation of fertiliser and raw materials remained among the top import priorities to avert potential shortages, Dr Mangudya said.
“The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is currently working on a new $150 million letters of credit facility to support, fertiliser, fuel and crude oil importation and of that amount around $56 million will go to fertiliser importation ahead of the 2017/2018 summer cropping season. Given an improved output last year mainly due to Command Agriculture, high level of organisation of the programme and availability of adequate rains; fertiliser availability remains critical to the sector. We are attending to fertiliser producers’ requirements on a continuous basis. Fertiliser will be distributed soon,” said Dr Mangudya.
Zimbabwe needs 300 000 tonnes of compound D and 100 000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate.
“The country’s biggest foreign currency earner, tobacco which earned just under a billion dollars will jointly benefit with the tourism sector from another $150 million facility to boost its production.
Tobacco remained very critical in the country as it continues to oil the foreign currency market to such an extent that it suffers a lot after its closure. A $600 million nostro stabilisation will service the market from October to February when the auction floors open. In January 2017, most farmers — both self-financing and Command Agriculture-contracted — have been struggling to get top-dressing fertiliser due to foreign currency allocation hiccups that have seen local manufacturers fail to import raw materials but this year Government wants to import AN before the start of the season.
Fertiliser will be transported and distributed via rail and road from South Africa and Mozambique.
Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Deputy Minister Davison Marapira weighed in: “We are happy that Government and monetary authorities have worked tirelessly to ensure adequate and constant supplies of top-dressing and basal fertiliser ahead of the 2017/2018 summer cropping season.”
$460 million has been mobilised for 2017/2018 season while bankers have opened a $1 billion loan book for the new season. Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers’ Union president Mr Wonder Chabikwa said, “We are very delighted with Government’s desire to ensure that the country has adequate basal and top dressing fertiliser ahead of the new season. We hope the fertiliser will be distributed to farmers early to avoid last year’s situation of top dressing fertiliser shortages in January.”