ZIMBABWE will soon be able to cut fertiliser imports costs by not less than US$50 million, if the manufacturing sector continues to foster ways to grow capacity in the sector.
Industry and Commerce Minister Mangaliso Ndlovu revealed these sentiments on the launch of Zimbabwe Fertiliser Company’s (ZFC) US$500 000 fertiliser blending machine at its Aspindale Park plant in Harare recently.
The new blending machine has an increased capacity of 45 tonnes per hour enabling ZFC to treble the output of NPK compounds to 350 000 tonnes per year a two-fold upgrade from the previous plant that was able to produce 150 000 tonnes.
The blender comes with a myriad of advantages encompassing low maintenance costs, enhanced homogeneity of the blended fertilisers and liquid coating that improves the fertiliser efficiency.
Addressing delegates at the launch of the blending machine Minister Ndlovu said the development was a critical move in ensuring import substitution thus curbing the ever-growing import bill.
“This will go a long way in encouraging import substitution, because currently we are spending not less than US$50 million in importing fertiliser, something we can manufacture locally,” said Minister Ndlovu.
He further implored the firm to continue investing in latest technological innovations to match competition from some global entities.
“This is commendable and I want to encourage the company to continue investing in newer and efficient technologies that will enable it to compete regionally and internationally.”
In the last three years ZFC has in invested US$1, 5 million in continuous improvement of granulation plants.
According to the Industry and Commerce Ministry, the fertiliser industry has a central importance to the Zimbabwean economy as it immensely contributes to agriculture that in turn produces 63 percent of raw materials of agro-based industries enhancing the manufacturing sector in the process.
ZFC Chairman Mr Tapiwa Mashingaidze noted that the initiative offered a new impetus to the agriculture sector growth which is the mainstay of the Zimbabwean economy.
He said, “this investment shows ZFC commitment to the re-industrialisation of this country and supporting the renewed growth of the country’s agricultural sector, something which the country is very much in need of especially considering the capacity we have as a country.”
Zimbabwe’s estimated fertiliser effective demand for rainfall season is 160 000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate and 240 000 tonnes compound fertilisers which comes to a total of 400 000 tonnes and 600 000 tonnes per year.
ZFC is one of the two granulators in the local fertiliser industry. It also produces a host of other products like herbicides, fungicides and nematicides offering their service to a significant customer base including local farmers, Government, private companies and regional clientele.
It is also a key node of the domestic fertiliser value chain which makes use of phosphates mined in Dorowa and Single Super Phosphates (SSP) produced by Zimbabwe Phosphate Industries.