IDCZ seeks to boost basal fertiliser production

28 Nov, 2022 - 00:11 0 Views
IDCZ seeks to boost basal fertiliser production IDCZ chairman Winston Makamure said in an interview that the corporation was expediting the implementation of the Government’s plan to increase local production of compound fertilisers.

The Herald

Michael Tome-Business Reporter

THE Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe (IDCZ) has embarked on a programme to recapitalise its basal fertiliser production operations to boost local production, cut imports and domesticate the fertiliser value chain.

IDCZ chairman Winston Makamure said in an interview that the corporation was expediting the implementation of the Government’s plan to increase local production of compound fertilisers.

Hitherto, IDCZ has invested in excess of US$5 million in setting up new plants and equipment for fertiliser production. IDCZ has since refurbished the power line from Rusape to Dorowa Mine to enhance power reliability, which has doubled the production of exportable magnetite to 2 000 tonnes from 1 000 tonnes per month.

To enhance efficiency, Zimbabwe Phosphates Industries (ZimPhos), a unit of IDCZ, commissioned a US$1,1 million fertiliser blender at its Msasa plant and is installing a US$2,2 million fertiliser granulation plant. When completed, the plant will have an impact on the downstream support industries.

The two plants have the capacity to produce and meet about 50 percent of Zimbabwe’s basal fertiliser requirements, which will save the country on foreign currency.

Zimbabwe is currently importing over 75 percent of its basal fertiliser requirements, depriving the economy of over US$400 million annually.

The annual national demand of fertilisers currently stands at 350 000 tonnes of phosphates and 250 000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate.

To support the value chain initiative, the Treasury earlier this year set aside US$22, 5 million from the country’s Special Drawing Right from the International Monetary Fund meant for retooling under the Value Chain Revolving Fund (REVCRF), while US$7,5 million was allotted to fertiliser and other agro-processing industries.

Agricultural value chains are a key priority in the National Development Strategy 1 (2021-2025) as Zimbabwe seeks to structurally transform its economy from commodity-based to increasing manufactured value-added products.

Mr Makamure said that the commissioning of these new plants is a testimony to the clarion call for accelerating innovation, research and development under the leadership of the Second Republic‘s Five-Year Fertiliser Import Substitution Roadmap 2021-2025.

“The IDCZ has invested into the local fertiliser value chain for basal fertilisers from the mining of the phosphates at Dorowa Mine in Buhera to the granulation and blending of basal fertilisers at ZimPhos in Harare.

“…and we are currently installing a 120 000 tonnes per annum fertiliser granulation plant at ZimPhos. This is to ensure the availability of basal fertilisers in support of the Government’s agriculture programmes” said Mr Makamure.

To bolster local fertiliser production, President Mnangagwa recently commissioned a new blender that produces 200 000 tonnes per annum of fertiliSers.

Presenting the 2023 National Budget Statement, Finance, and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube said the Government will continue to restructure and strengthen the existing 78 agro-based value chains, including growing domestic production of fertiliser and other agricultural inputs.

He said considerations are underway for developing local content thresholds of all products and services in which the country has a comparative advantage which includes pharmaceutical, fertiliser, and packaging sub-sectors.

“As part of the thrust to strengthen domestic value chains and economic transformation, the Government is capaciting IDCZ to support its subsidiaries to value-add raw minerals into compound fertilisers and other products, currently being imported as part of the local content strategy.

“Already, one of the subsidiaries, Chemplex Corporation was capacitated with a new Plant to enable the production of grain protectant to reduce post-harvest losses and tick grease which should result in decreased cattle death from the “January disease,” said Minister Ncube.

Globally, food prices are forecast to increase by an estimated six percent in 2022 and two percent in 2023 on account of the geopolitical tensions which have stoked fertiliser prices around the world.

Zimbabwe could save itself from the menacing fertiliser price increases if the local fertiliser industry is capacitated.

IDCZ identifies and develops industrial project opportunities into commercially viable ventures in partnership with local, regional and international investors, and technology and market access partners.

Having been in business for the last 59 years, the corporation has transformed and built an investment portfolio, with the core being in the sectors of motor and transport, fertiliser and chemicals, cement, base mineral processing, and agro-processing.

It also has investments in textiles, packaging, insurance and real estate.

IDCZ was incorporated through its enabling Act (Chapter 14:10) in 1963 to invest in industry as a state agency.

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