Zim looks inward to bloster wheat, fertiliser output Dr John Bhasera

Herald Reporter

Government has started implementing home-grown solutions to ensure local manufacture of fertilisers for increased wheat production as part of efforts to counter the effects of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, which has impacted on global wheat and fertiliser stocks.

The conflict has resulted in challenges with shipments of wheat and fertiliser, spurring shortages and pushing the price of the vital crop higher. Russia and Ukraine export more than a quarter of the world’s wheat, feeding billions of people in the form of bread, pasta and packaged foods.

The countries are also key suppliers of barley, sunflower, seed oil and corn, among other products.

Russia is also a big player in the fertiliser market and is the world’s top exporter of natural gas, which is used to make nitrogen fertiliser, and a top producer of potash, a key component of many fertilisers.

Fertiliser prices have sky-rocketed since February 24 when Russia launched its Special Military Operation in Ukraine.

But Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Permanent Secretary Dr John Bhasera yesterday said Zimbabwe had already started making inroads to producing more wheat, with this year’s yield expected to be much better than previous years.

“We started with our wheat and we are bound to break more records in terms of wheat production this year,” he said. “In terms of fertilisers and pursuant to the whole of Government approach, we are working with other private sector players in supporting the local manufacture component for fertilisers.

“We have a five-year local manufacture of fertiliser roadmap so that we are able to look inward, especially at input level.”

Zimbabwe needs at least 400 000 tonnes of wheat a year to meet its flour demand.

With more than 85 000 hectares expected to be placed under wheat production this winter, and last year’s major jump in yields, Zimbabwe is likely to meet the targets and achieve self-sufficiency for the first time ever.

Agriculture contributes 15 percent to national Gross Domestic Product, but is expected to increase to over 20 percent by 2025 as enshrined in the National Development Strategy 1.

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