Zimbabwe signs US$45 million fertiliser deal

ZIMBABWE has signed a US$45 million revolving fund with a South African and local bank to import maize, wheat and fertiliser, central bank governor Gideon Gono said on Wednesday.

Gono said Nedbank of South Africa and Zimbabwe’s MBCA Bank had raised the money but would n

ot say how the money was secured. Nedbank is a major shareholder in MBCA.

He said the Zimbabwe central bank had also struck a deal for a South African company, which is supplying the fertilizer, to help revive the country’s ailing fertilizer manufacturing plants.

Zimbabwean industries are operating below 30% as a severe economic crisis takes its toll on an economy grappling with the world’s highest inflation rate at nearly 1 200%, unemployment above 70% and shortages of foreign currency and food.

Under the US$45 million revolving facility, Intshona Agriculture Products of South Africa will supply the country with 50 000 tonnes of fertiliser, 40 000 tonnes of wheat and 40 000 tonnes of maize.

“Whilst we are trying to deal with transitory shortfalls in the agriculture sector, food security remains a challenge,” said Gono.

“I know we have produced our own (maize) but we are beginning to stock up for strategic reserves,” he added.
Zimbabwe says it will harvest 1,8 million tonnes during the 2005/6 agriculture season, which will enable it to meet the country’s food requirements. — Reuter.