New fertiliser plant to reduce imports

Presidential Affairs minister Joram Gumbo said at the prices of fertiliser will fall.

GOVERNMENT says the new granulation plant which is being installed by Zimbabwe Phosphates Industries (Zimphos) will speed up the reduction in fertiliser imports.

This comes as the Industry and Commerce ministry is working on completely revamping the fertiliser production chain to give Zimbabwe the capacity to handle destabilising shocks such as the Russia/Ukraine conflict.

The war in Ukraine was the second crisis to rattle the world in two years, as the world battled to recover from COVID-19 pandemic-induced downturns.

Presenting a 100-day cycle report in Cabinet recently, Presidential Affairs minister Joram Gumbo said at the completion of the project, the  prices of fertiliser will fall.

“All the equipment is now in the country from China. Installation is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2023. Completion of the project will result in the reduction of fertiliser imports in line with the five-year fertiliser roadmap,” he said.

“Fertiliser prices are envisaged to be reduced from the current average of US$45 to between US$20-30 per 50kg bag. Employment opportunities for approximately 60 people will be created by the project.”

The development after the COVID-19 outbreak smashed global production for two consecutive years, forcing the International Monetary Fund to inject US$630 billion in August 2021 to stimulate production and save haemorrhaging global economies.

The war in Ukraine dealt yet another blow to global economies because Russia and Ukraine hold sway global fertiliser markets.

Prices have rocketed since the conflict started, and agro-led economies like Zimbabwe have been the hardest hit.

War broke out at the end of Zimbabwe’s agricultural season, meaning the implications were felt less compared to economies that were at the peak of agricultural production.

Demand for fertiliser in Zimbabwe hardly abates because soon after the rain-fed summer cropping season, a sizeable number of farmers return to the field for winter cropping.

And in the absence of swift action, the fertiliser crisis could haunt Zimbabwe for some time, even if Russia calls off strikes on Ukraine to end the conflict.

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