Zimbabwe’s fertiliser industry requires over $120 million in foreign currency for the importation of raw materials used in the manufacture of compound and top dressing fertilisers for the forthcoming summer cropping season.
Estimated fertiliser effective demand for 2017 /18 season is 160 000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate and 240 000 tonnes compound fertilisers which comes to a total of 400 000 tonnes.
Chemplex Corporation Limited chief executive officer Tapuwa Mashingaidze said industry has capacity to manufacture compound fertilizers but requires Nostro support to import essential raw materials for the manufacture of the stimulant.
“There is huge capacity to manufacture fertilizer locally. What we are saying is that instead of importing finished fertilizers we buy raw materials to manufacture locally,” said Mr Mashingaidze.
“We estimate that for all the 400 000 tonnes of fertilisers required for this year we need about $122 million worth of foreign exchange (to import raw materials).”
“If we are to import a finished product (fertiliser) we would require more than two or three times that ($122 million) in foreign exchange.
In addition to the local industry’s existing capacity to manufacture fertilizers various companies have also been investing in blending capacity.
It is estimated that local industry has capacity to produce half a million tonnes of basal fertilizers per year.
“Definitely there is no justification for importing compound fertilisers when there is so much capacity to manufacture locally and there is even more capacity in the sense that a lot of new players have also built blending plants to mix and get the right compounds,” noted Mr Mashingaidze.
The local fertiliser industry is advocating for zero imports on finished compound fertilisers but raw materials used in production only.
However, supplementary ammonium nitrates and urea imports will be required to cover the shortfall in the country.