MASVINGO — The 2014-15 farming season, which is fast approaching, looks gloomy amid reports that the country needs to import more than 200 000 tonnes of fertiliser to meet local demand, a senior government official has disclosed.
In an interview yesterday, Agriculture deputy minister responsible for cropping Davis Marapira said only 60 000 tonnes of fertiliser were readily available.
“There are only 60 000 tonnes available from local suppliers and there is need to import the shortfall. It’s either the suppliers will import raw materials or the finished product,” said Marapira.
He said the country would have to look for the cheapest fertiliser on the world market, without mentioning how much will be forked out.
“We could have imported from Ukraine, which has a reasonable price, but then there is war, so we might consider importing from South Africa and other countries,” Marapira said.
He said the country needs to import 80 000 tonnes of Compound D fertiliser, 80 000 tonnes of amonium nitrate and 80 000 tonnes of lime.
Treasury is yet to release the money to fund this year’s farming season.
Marapira, however, said there was enough maize seed to cater for the whole nation.
“As for maize seed, we are home and dry, maybe the small grains, but they are in constant supply,” he said.
“We are still waiting for the $250 million which the Ministry of Finance budgeted for agriculture. We are waiting for modalities from the ministry,” he said.
As for seed, he also said there is need to import another 16 000 tonnes.