Zim waives duty on 250k tonnes of fertiliser

(Last Updated On: October 6, 2022)
  1. LIVINGSTONE MARUFU

 

Zimbabwe has allowed farmers to import 250 000 tonnes of top dressing fertiliser on a duty-free basis to stem a shortage that has haunted the agricultural season, leading to low yields.

Zimbabwe has struggled to attain desired yields every year following the top dressing fertiliser shortages between January and March.

Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development minister Anxious Masuka told Business Times that the cost of fertiliser presents the biggest constraint to increasing production and productivity.

“To counter this, we are allowing duty-free importation of nitrogenous fertilisers amounting to 250k tonnes, duty-free importation of fertiliser raw materials [NPK] and supporting local fertiliser manufacture [through government guarantees],” Masuka said.

He said there is a need for productive sector financing for local fertiliser manufacturers to ramp up production. There is also a need for a zero-rated value-added tax on fertilisers and other inputs to make them easily accessible and affordable, Masuka said.

The push to import top dressing fertiliser comes as President Emmerson Mnangagwa recently urged the private sector to explore opportunities in the fertiliser manufacturing and supply chain.

Mnangagwa said the localised production of basal fertilisers would over US$250m per annum on the fertiliser import bill.

“The current geo-political environment in Eastern Europe has led to disruptions in agro-supply chains in most countries, including Zimbabwe. In this regard, it is urgent that we develop stronger value chains in the fertiliser industry, leveraging on our rich resource endowments,” Mnangagwa said while commissioning a fertiliser blending plant at Zimbabwe Phosphate Industries in Harare last month.

He said the government would continue improving the business environment to grow private sector participation in the fertiliser value chain.

The calls come as the fertiliser industry has said it has adequate stocks for the 2022-2023 summer cropping season.

The industry players revealed that manufacturing plants at Zimbabwe Fertiliser Company and Windmill were running at optimum capacity while Sable Chemicals, the only manufacturer of ammonium nitrate in the country had put in place measures to ensure the continued manufacture of ammonium nitrate at the Kwekwe factory.

Local fertiliser players said they have a capacity of producing 1.7m tonnes of both top dressing and basal fertiliser.

Windmill chief executive officer George Rundogo told Business Times that the fertiliser company is ready for the new summer cropping season.

“We have enough fertiliser in our stocks and we are calling for the farmers to buy early while there is less demand. We are producing at full capacity and we are up to the task of supplying the nation with fertiliser,” Rundogo said.

“We will see how the season progresses but for now we are ready.”

Zimbabwe requires 400 000 tonnes of basal fertilisers and 380 000 tonnes of top dressing fertilisers.

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