By Joyce Mukucha and Anyway Yotamu
Driven by the commitment to play a pivotal role in the revival of the nation in the agriculture industry, the country’s largest manufacturer and supplier of fertilisers and agricultural chemicals, Zimbabwe Fertiliser Company(ZFC) Limited has invested in a new fertiliser blending plant .
The plant valued at US$500 000 has increased capacity as it produces 45 tonnes per hour enabling the company to treble output of NPK compounds and blends to an impressive 350,000MT per year which is equivalent to the national requirement of the basal fertilisers. The company has invested US$1. 5 million in continuous improvement of granulation plants in the past three years.
Officially opening the plant on the 7th of October 2019 the Minister of Industry and Commerce, Honourable Mangaliso Ndlovu commended ZFC for the diligent work and contribution towards the success of Zimbabwean agricultural industry which he said demonstrated confidence in the economic reform agenda of the second republic.
He indicated that Zimbabwe cannot prosper without agro-based industries such as the fertiliser sector that play a pivotal role in agriculture.
“It is an honour to be officiating at the launch of a New Fertiliser blending plant at ZFC Limited. This is coming at an opportune time when we are preparing for the summer cropping season which starts in October 2019. This investment therefore expands the company’s presence and impact in the local and regional fertiliser markets.
“Framed within this context, the fertiliser industry plays a critical role and so Government is keen to see a strengthening of the value chain to ensure availability of quality and affordable products. Our country is not spared from the climatic changes as shown by the recent Cyclone Idai and the drought. This calls for innovation and adaptability in the product offering of agro-based industries including the fertiliser sector,” he said.
He also emphasised that agriculture plays a fundamental role in the economy by contributing 63% of raw materials to manufacturing and encouraged ZFC to continue investing in newer and efficient technologies that will enable it to compete regionally and internationally.
In an effort to shape the industrialisation agenda of the country over the next five years, the minister pointed out that his ministry recently launched the Zimbabwe National Industrial Development Policy (ZNIDP) 2019-2023). The policy is anchored on the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) and recognises the importance of the agro-industrial pillar to the growth and development of the industry and economy.
The ZFC Limited Chairperson Mr Tapiwa Mashingaidze said despite the economic challenges which are currently prevailing in the country, the venture was a positive development and the company’s commitment to the re-industrialisation of the nation.
“Our aim is to create a new era of economic growth by ensuring that there is availability and supply of affordable fertiliser. This investment will contribute to the re-industrialisation of the country in line with the vision 2030. There is need to change the narrative of this country. Therefore I urge all industries and business companies to copy what ZFC has done,” he said.
The plant has the potential to produce 300 000 tonnes of blended NPK fertilisers per year which is an upgrade of the previous plant that was able to produce 150 000 MT which is an addition to the capacity of 200 000 tonnes per annum already available at the granulation plants at Aspindale and Msasa.