The Sunday Mail
Agricultural companies have begun partnering farmers and organisations with free funds to import fertiliser and related raw materials to produce the chemical which is feared to be in short supply.
The latest developments follow Government’s relaxation of import restrictions on agriculture inputs to allow individuals with free funds to supplement supplies on the local market.
The Ministry of Industry and Commerce expects the move to counter the sharp input price increases that has been witnessed over the past few weeks due to foreign currency challenges.
One of the major fertiliser producing companies, Windmill, said it is courting individuals and corporates.
In a statement last week, Windmill said, “Following the position taken by Government that farmers and corporates with free funds can import their fertiliser requirements, we are happy to complement Government efforts by offering our bonded warehouse in Beira, or import on your (individuals and companies) behalf from anywhere in the world hassle free.
“Windmill will handle all logistics in short lead time. This will enable the corporates and individuals to collect their stuff at their nearest depot with no extra charge.
It is believed that since the start of last week over 10 000 applications had been made to fertiliser companies by individuals and companies seeking to have the fertiliser imported on their behalf.
Another fertiliser producing company, Zimbabwe Fertiliser Company (ZFC), said it was yet to finalise modalities on importing on behalf of individual clients.
The move to allow those with free funds to import their fertiliser is expected to neutralise fertiliser prices.
Local manufacturers are still charging about $41 for a 50kg bag of Compound D, $35 for Urea and Ammonium Nitrate is pegged at about US$39.
Zimbabwe Fertiliser Manufacturers Association says it has about 120 000 tonnes of fertiliser against a demand of 500 000 for each season.
Zimbabwe requires roughly 250 000 tonnes of AN and a similar quantity of compound fertilisers each summer cropping season. Major manufacturers include Windmill, Zimbabwe Fertiliser Company, Omnia and Sable Chemicals.
Government has already created a US$56 million Fertiliser Facility to normalise the supply and price situation.
Government is also allowing the importation of agro-chemicals for both livestock and crops to enable the farmers to easily access inputs.
Dr Bimha said agro-chemicals which farmers could import include herbicides, insecticides and animal remedies.
All importers are expected to comply with prescribed rules and regulations, which are available from the Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Ministry.