Zimbabwe’s prospects of a successful agriculture season are under threat amid fears of severe shortage of fertiliser that has seen crops affected across the country that is highly dependent on agriculture.
Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Resettlement Minister Anxious Masuka confirmed the crisis but immediately said they were expecting the much-needed Ammonium Nitrate that is in short supply this week.
“We are expecting 80 000 metric tonnes and of the 80 000 metric tonnes, we have received 43 000 metric tonnes. We are hurrying the importing of Ammonium Nitrate and also activating the local supply so I expect accelerated delivery of all additional required,” Masuka told Business Times this week.
Farmers said there was need for immediate action by the government before it’s too late to rescue the crop.
“We are faced with danger. We only got 43% required as farmers here and our crops are wilting. If this is not addressed, it will be a disaster,” one of the farmers said.
Last year, Parliament warned that government projections for the 2023 agricultural season will be severely affected by poor budgeting with the paltry ZWL$362bn allocation insufficient and likely to spell doom in a country facing a food crisis.
The ministry was awarded ZWL$362.5bn from the ZWL$4.5 trillion 2023 national budget unveiled by Finance minister Mthuli Ncube, a figure described as too little to finance a key sector like agriculture.
“The committee is concerned that the previous resource allocations have failed to transform the agriculture sector, as reflected by low yields. Productivity at most farms is currently at about 1.5 to 2 tonnes per hectare, at a time when 4.5 to 5 tonnes per hectare is possible,” a report by the Agriculture Parliamentary portfolio committee chaired by Gokwe-Nembudziya Member of Parliament Justice Mayor Wadyajena reads.
“The low resources relative to what had been bid is a concern for the committee, as this means that some projects and programmes that had been scheduled for next year will not be implemented,” the report said.
Zimbabwe imports its fertiliser requirements and the local producer of AN fertilisers, Sable Chemicals, is failing to meet the national demand due to production constraints.