Zambia’s UCF plans US$700m investment in Zim’s fertiliser sector

The development is set to make fertiliser available and lead to a reduction in the price of the commodity.

ZAMBIAN firm, United Capital Fertiliser Limited (UCF), will invest US$700 million in the supply of fertiliser and the construction of two fertiliser manufacturing plants in Zimbabwe, NewsDay Business can report.

The development is set to make fertiliser available and lead to a reduction in the price of the commodity.

The construction of the compound D plant will begin early next year.

Concurrently, UCF is on track to deliver 30 000 tonnes of Urea and Compound D, apiece, for 2023/24 Zimbabwe farming season.

UCF is a wholly owned subsidiary of Wonderful Group of Companies Limited, a diversified, highly recognised and respected industrial conglomerate.

The group is a Zambian industrial development investment firm that specialises in pioneering greenfield manufacturing firms and managing brownfield industries. The holding company was founded and is run by a Chinese national Huang Yaochi.

“Zambia-based regional fertiliser manufacturing giant, UCF Limited is set to invest US$700 million in the supply of fertilisers and construction of Compound D and Urea fertiliser manufacturing plants in Zimbabwe as part of its regional expansion plans,” UCF said, in a statement yesterday.

“US$200 million allocated for the supply of fertilisers and construction of the fertiliser and coal mining production plants in 2024 and US$500 million for Urea manufacturing plant.”

UCF said the investment provided job opportunities for the local population in addition to bolstering Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector, food security and rural livelihoods.

The company revealed that Zimbabwean authorities toured the operations of the Wonderful Group of Companies in Zambia including UCF and have already signed a memorandum of understanding.

UCF recently took a significant step towards the implementation of its regional expansion plans by listing a US$500 million bond on the Botswana Stock Exchange at an  event last week in Gaborone.

“The historic move reinforced the company’s firm position as a leading player in the Africa fertiliser market and marks a new chapter in its ambitious regional growth strategy,” UCF said.

For the 2023/24 agricultural season, UCF says it is supplying fertiliser to various countries in the Sadc region, including Zambia, Botswana, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

“We are excited at the opportunity to bring our expertise in building large scaleindustrial plants into Zimbabwe, specifically in the fertiliser production sector,” Yaochi said.

“We will commence construction of a state-of-the-art fertiliser manufacturing plant in early 2024, which will contributeto the attainment of self-sufficiency in the supply of Compound D fertilisers in Zimbabwe. We have successfully done this in Zambia and we can do the same in Zimbabwe for the 2024/25 agricultural season.”

Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector has been blighted by the shortage of fertiliser, especially ammonium nitrate.

The interest by UCF comes on the back of plans by an Egyptian tycoon Sherif El Gabaly to invest in the local fertiliser sector.

This also comes as Afreximbank has selected Zimbabwe alongside two other countries to grow agricultural produce for export to Egypt under a US$2 billion plan to boost food production on the continent.

The Export Agriculture for Food Security initiative has Zimbabwe, Malawi and Chad which will play the role of policy enablers to ensure a conducive environment for the agricultural transformation centres.

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