Zimbabwe’s sole producer of ammonium nitrate fertiliser, Sable Chemicals in Kwekwe, has a critical role to play under Government’s Pfumvudza programme and will receive full support to meet the needs of all farmers, Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza said last week during a tour of the firm’s factory.
The Second Republic was determined to fully use Sable Chemicals in its vision to boost farm yields and production.
Dr Nzenza’s remarks came as the Government signed an agreement with Sable Chemicals to produce 60 000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate for the 2020-21 farming season.
“I was impressed by what I saw and the potential that we have as a nation in as far as fertiliser production is concerned.
“The President has a vision, which we are all working on to achieve, and with companies like Sable we can achieve this vision of becoming an upper middle income economy by 2030,” she said. “We can only achieve this vision by giving full support to such companies like Sable Chemicals, which is very critical in our agricultural sector, especially now that we launched the Pfumvudza programme.”
Dr Nzenza said with Government support, Sable Chemicals could become one of the country’s top foreign currency earners through fertiliser exports. “Ever since 1969 when Sable Chemicals started operating, it was responsible for providing fertiliser not just to Zimbabwe, but within the Sadc region. This is why Zimbabwe was the breadbasket of the Sadc region. We are on the road to turn Zimbabwe once again the breadbasket for Southern Africa. But we are going to start with producing for our own economy,” she said.
She said agriculture supplies at least 60 percent of the raw materials needed in local industry hence the importance of companies like Sable Chemicals to boost the local agriculture production. Government has thus started to implement, as you all know, the agriculture recovery plan and we have the Pfumvudza programme underway,” she said.
Minister Nzenza noted that production of the required tonnage was well advanced. “This is in line with the Government’s import substitution policy. We want to reduce imports and start consuming locally so we want to have our fertiliser produced locally,” she said.
Sable Chemicals chief executive, Mr Bothwell Nyajeka said the company was looking to double production so as to meet ammonium nitrate fertiliser requirements.
He said according to the contract signed between the company and Government, the tonnage requirements will improve with each farming season, rising to 180 000 tonnes in two years’ time.
“So we have a roadmap to expand our production capacity so that we can meet this demand,’ he said. Sable Chemicals has also signed an MoU with Invictus Energy Industries from the Muzarabani basin that will see the company getting natural gas from Muzarabani once wells have been drilled there.
Natural gas is a feedstock for ammonium nitrate. He said the development will help the company produce about 240 000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate annually.
“This is part of our future expansion plans and we have since singed an MoU with Invictus Energy industries. This will also require us to construct a new ammonium gas plant at the company,” he said.