Zvamaida Murwira, Harare Bureau
Farming inputs manufacturer, Fertiliser Seed Grain (FSG) has said preparations for the production of fertiliser for the Presidential Input Scheme was already on course and assured farmers that they would get the chemicals on time for them to plant crops.
FSG, which also has operations in Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia, is contracted by the Government to supply fertiliser to about two million vulnerable households under State-sponsored schemes that include the Presidential Cotton Inputs Scheme, designed to assist marginalised people.
The company, whose integrated factory is situated in Bindura, is the largest fertiliser manufacturer in Zimbabwe, enjoying a large share of the market through its Superfert brand.
Managing director Mr Steve Morland said FSG had started producing fertiliser for the Presidential Inputs Scheme.
He added that distribution of the chemicals to vulnerable people would begin soon.
Mr Morland said this while briefing Parliament’s portfolio committee on Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement chaired by Gokwe Nembudziya MP Cde Justice Mayor Wadyajena (Zanu-PF) that toured the firm in Bindura last Friday.
“We have recently started production of fertilisers required for the Presidential Input programme.
“We have large portions of raw materials already on site here in Bindura.
“We have additional fertilisers in Harare, top dressing. We feel that we are well prepared. Deliveries are well underway and the only possible delay from now is (that) Letters of Credit were not opened quick enough. We are working with banks for that to happen,” said Mr Morland.
He said they hope to have the programme completed by end of December or mid-January next year.
“This season we have to supply about 63 000 tonnes of Compound D and 63 000 of AN,” he said.
FSG has been supplying the bulk of the Presidential free inputs, since 2015 as it complements the country’s food security situation.
Under the Presidential Free Cotton Inputs scheme, the Government is supporting thousands of vulnerable households and the programme has helped to boost the cotton industry, promising to be one of the country’s major foreign currency earners.
Apart from supporting cotton farmers, the Government is also providing inputs for maize, sorghum and pearl millet.
Turning to FSG’s operations, Mr Morland said they hope to double the current production of fertiliser as the farming season beckons.
“At the moment we are doing 600 tonnes here at this factory; we will be ramping this up to 900 tonnes next week (this week). In Harare, we are doing 400 tonnes to 500 (tonnes),” he said.
He said foreign currency availability remained a challenge but they were in constant discussion with their financial institutions.
“Foreign currency is our biggest challenge, we work with a system of Letters of Credit. Our suppliers give us terms, all the fertiliser we have is under collateral management or bank finance.
“We require about US$10 million per month but sometimes you need more,” he said.
FSG also supplies raw materials to local companies and then buy back finished products, mainly Compound D and granular single super phosphate.
Some of the major fertiliser suppliers in Zimbabwe are Windmill, Sable Chemicals, Zimbabwe Fertiliser Company and Omnia.