RBZ disburses US$125 million for fertiliser

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) says it has so far disbursed over US$125 million to fertiliser firms for the importation of raw materials, businessdigest can reveal.

Tinashe Kairiza

Government last month announced that it had arranged for a US$156 million loan facility with the Africa Import and Export Bank (Afreximbank) for the importation of fertiliser and cooking oil, among other key commodities.

As the summer cropping season gathers momentum, Zimbabwe has been battling to mobilise adequate resources for the importation of fertiliser.

The southern African country requires at least 400 000 tonnes of fertiliser for a successful cropping season.

Central bank governor John Mangudya told businessdigest that Zimbabwe would not experience a fertiliser shortage as foreign currency disbursements to manufacturing companies were being paid out on a “weekly basis.”

“So far, we have disbursed just over US$125 million for fertiliser importation. It is an ongoing process. It is not static.

“We are making disbursements on a weekly basis,” he said, noting that the country would have adequate stocks of fertiliser, as preparations for the summer cropping season gather pace.

Fertiliser manufacturing firms have however raised concern that critical production time was being lost as manufacturers waited for the central bank to disburse foreign currency allocations for the importation of raw materials.

The firms, which are constituted under the Zimbabwe Fertiliser Manufacturers’ Association, have over the years increased their production capacity by setting up new blending plants.

But fears abound that the blending plants may turn into white elephants, as fertiliser manufacturing firms struggle to access adequate foreign currency for the importation of key raw materials.

Depending on the availability of raw materials, Zimbabwe’s fertiliser companies have capacity to manufacture at least 1.2 million tonnes of the commodity.

The Zimbabwe Fertiliser Manufacturers’ Association is constituted by firms such as Windmill, Omnia and Sable Chemicals.

Last month, the association said it was sitting on 100 000 tonnes stocks, with an equal tonnage having been absorbed by the market.

Earlier this month, fertiliser prices jumped to US$41 from US$32 per 50kg bag of compound D and to US$39 from US$33 for 50kg of ammonium nitrate.

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