By Alois Vinga
LOCAL fertiliser manufacturers say production capacity has dwindled as foreign currency shortages continue to choke the sector.
This was revealed this week by Fertiliser Manufacturers Association official, Phillip Nyakudziwanza in an interview with NewZimbabwe.com.
“Despite that the sector has a combined production capacity to produce 1.5 million tonnes of fertiliser, last year we only manage to produce 300 000 tonnes against a local demand target of 600 000 tonnes due to acute shortages of foreign currency needed to buy spares and ingredients,” he said.
Nyakudziwanza said one of the product’s key ingredients, potash is now being manufactured in two African countries while the manufacturers’ sulphuric acid plants now required refurbishment.
The sector’s average production capacity for 2017 into 2018 stood at 34 percent.
Nyakudziwanza said that the sector had managed to make arrangements to bring top-dressing fertilisers into the country before payment to avoid logistical problems.
He said as manufacturers, they were working with the central bank and other local banks to establish effective lines of credit to settle forex payments and improve supplies in future.
“Forex has always been a challenge for this country and this is one reason why it is so important to build up and support local production capability to reduce high dependence on imports in a forex-starved economy,” he said.
Nyakudziwanza said there was need for key stakeholders to plan in advance in order to avoid last minute initiatives which are easily hampered by logistical bottlenecks.