By Tendai Munengwa
SHORTAGES of top dressing fertiliser, which hit the country over the past week, is set to come to an end as the government in collaboration with a locally contracted company, has intensified importation of Urea and Ammonium Nitrate for distribution to farmers.
The incessant rains being experienced across the country have enabled the bulk of farmers to produce a flourishing maize crop but the shortage of top dressing fertilizer and excess rains have begun to affect the crop, with some now turning yellow owing to leaching and nutrients deficiency.
However, Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Development Minister, Dr Anxious Masuka has assured farmers that the government has secured top dressing fertiliser and distribution is being done in a transparent manner.
“Yes we are seized with the matter of the unavailability and delays in the movement of top dressing, but as government, we are doing our best to import Urea and AN from South Africa, Mozambique and other countries. What I can urge farmers is to cultivate a culture of sharing the little available. Farmers can take half their required quantities and as the AN continue to come in they will get the balance,” he said.
One of the distribution points in Harare, Bak Storage, was a hive of activity this Tuesday, 19 January 2021 as truckloads of top dressing fertiliser could be seen arriving and offloading the commodity for packaging and distribution to farmers.
“As you can see, that state of the art machine can do about 270 tonnes in nine hours, so here we are ready to handle and dispatch 30 tonnes per every hour, the fertilizer arrival has started to improve, we are building up stock and we are hopeful that all farmers will be served if the fertilizer reported being at the borders arrive,” said Bak Storage Agric-Inputs Operations Executive, Joshua Mukarati.
Farmers, who spoke to ZBC NEWS at loading bays, expressed gratitude to the government for a timely intervention.
“Although there have been some delays, we are happy that the AN is now coming in and what is need is for government to expedite the movement of the commodity at borders to ensure we catch up with the recommended deadlines, we are still on course and nothing will stop us from producing bumper harvest, the farmers commends government,” they said.
To accelerate the movement of the fertiliser, the contracted company, FSG Managing Director, Steve Morland confirmed that they are pushing large volumes of the commodity from Mozambique for distribution to farmers through Bak logistics and Grain Marketing Board Depots dotted around the country.