fertilizer.jpgImports of fertiliser to meet demand for the 2010/2011 summer cropping season have begun after government through the State Procurement Board awarded tenders to 2 fertiliser companies and 10 seed houses to supply farming inputs under a US$30 million agriculture facility.

 

Seed houses announced that they have enough stock to satisfy local farmers’ demands, but fertiliser companies will have to boost supplies.

 

The fertiliser companies which include Zimbabwe Fertiliser Company and Windmill are in the process of importing 30 000 tonnes to compliment current stocks of 120 000 metric tonnes in addition to 30 000 tonnes of top dressing and 12 000 tonnes of Ammonium Nitrate being produced each month.

 

Addressing a meeting between government and input suppliers, Windmill Chief Executive Officer, Mr. George Rundogo said fertiliser companies are ready to supply inputs to the various GMB depots as soon as they have been told the amount required from them.

 

“We have moved a lot (of fertiliser) to depots and stockists. In terms of sales, sales to the general public are continuing at a slow rate,” Mr Rundogo said.

 

Seedco Managing Director, Mr. Dennis Zaranyika said seed houses have worked with government before and are ready for this season.

 

“We have been ready as early as August and we will be ready to move. What we now await are the schedules,” said Mr Zaranyika.

 

The government facility will cater for 400 000 families from communal areas, old resettlements, A1 farms and small scale farms, enabling each family to get 1 bag of Ammonium Nitrate , 1 bag of compound D and a 10 kilogramme bag of maize seed or a 5 kilogramme bag of small grain.

 

Agriculture Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister, Dr Joseph Made said the ministry is working hard to take advantage of the anticipated good rains.

 

“The tenders are to supply to specific points and depots in the country. What will be critical will be to move in time in relation to the rainy season. We are already behind schedule but have no doubt we will move with speed.

 

“ What is critical is to use the hybrid seed so that it is note re-cycled next season. Governement has made it clear it understands challenges facing fertiliser companies. We’ll acquire fertilisers if we fail to use it we’ll give permission to re-export,” Dr Made said.

 

A separate programme which will cater for 556 000 families is being spearheaded by non-governmental organisations.

 

Commenting on the US$54 million agriculture support funds recently announced by Finance Minister Tendai Biti, Dr. Made expressed hope that when the money is availed it will be distributed to farmers through the banks.