Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Lobby for 25pc fertiliser duty

Lobby for 25pc fertiliser duty

Walter Muchinguri Assistant Business Editor
The fertiliser industry is lobbying Government to impose a 25 percent duty on compound or basal fertilisers in order to boost local production. Chemplex Corporation chief executive and spokesperson for the fertiliser industry Mr Misheck Kachere said they had already made representations to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.

He said compound fertiliser imports were choking the market and preventing local industries from increasing production.

He said that there has been an oversupply of compounds on the market after local producers produced 200 000 tonnes of compounds against national demand of 175 000 tonnes while top dressing fertiliser production was 75 000 tonnes against demand of 175 000 tonnes.

“We have no problem in meeting the demand for compound fertilisers because we have the capacity our only problem is top dressing fertiliser due to challenges at Sable.

“What is particularly worrying is that some of the people importing these compound fertilisers do not have a clue about what they are exporting or what the fertilisers look like,” he said.

Mr Kachere said the imports had seriously affected orders of phosphate which has seen capacity utilisation in the phosphate industry remaining at 15 percent.

If granted, he said, the 25 percent will help fertiliser companies retain its 3000 employees and many others who are employed in downstream industries.

“We will also be able to ensure that the foreign currency we have circulates within the local economy.

“The tobacco sales generated about $600 million this year and of this $30 million was for fertilizers. Imagine what we can do if we retain all that money in the country,” he said.

Looking ahead Mr Kachere said they were expecting demand for fertilisers to grow, which they intend to match with increase in production.

“In the 2013 /2014 season demand was 320 000 tonnes and it increased to 350 000 during the current season. We expect demand to further increase to 400 000 tonnes in the 2015/2016 season,” he said.

As a result he said plans were to increase capacity in phosphate production from 15 percent to 40 percent while capacity in granulation is expected to double to 60 percent from 33 percent and 30 percent to 50 percent at Sable, if Government approves the proposed measure to protect the industry.

Apart from the compounds and top dressing fertilisers, Mr Kachere said they were also looking at promoting the use of fertilizer blends through increasing awareness and appreciation of the blends among farmers.

“Blends have not been very popular among farmers but we are trying to persuade farmers to come up with prescriptions which we then look at and address after visiting their farms and carrying out various tests,” he said.

Fertiliser is a key ingredient in the success of the agriculture sector that is the backbone of the economy underpinning economic growth, food security and poverty eradication. Agriculture is one of the key sectors that are supposed to anchor the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation.


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