A New Chinese bulk fertilizer blending plant has been commissioned in Zimbabwe

– Zimbabwe requires 300,000 tonnes of top dressing and 300,000 tonnes of basal dressing but due to limited production locally, most of the fertiliser is imported.

A new bulk fertiliser blending plant, with a capacity of 300 tonnes per day, has been commissioned in Norton, located 45 kilometers southwest of the capital, John Cassim reports from Harare, Zimbabwe. 

This plant is the result of a US$1 million Chinese investment in Fertop Agriculture (Private) Limited.

The company will produce the MoreHarvest Compound brand, using the granulation one of the processes used in Zimbabwe, whereas NPK referring to Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium.

Professor Obert Jiri, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Land, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, and Rural Development during the commissioning of Fertop Agriculture (Private) Limited

“The advantage of having such machines is that we can come up with a formulation of the product that we want, whether it’s Compound D, Compound C, DD, or any KPK blend. 

The advantage of blending is that we can create custom-specified fertilizers, addressing the nutritional deficiencies for specific farmers after soil analysis,” explained Sylvester Tsikisayi, Technical Director of Fertop Agriculture.

The company is using active filler material, such as calcium carbonate, for Compound D. So far, they have received 3000 tonnes of raw materials, including phosphorus and granulated ammonium sulfate. 

Granulated ammonium sulfate provides the required nitrogen and sulfur for NPK.

Fertiliser production at Fertop Agriculture (Private) Limited in Norton near Harare, Zimbabwe

According to Professor Obert Jiri, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Land, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, and Rural Development, Zimbabwe requires 300,000 tonnes of top dressing and 300,000 tonnes of basal dressing. Due to limited production capacity, the country mostly imports its fertilizers, making crop production expensive.

“We import all our top-dressing fertilizer, so it’s very exciting to see it being produced locally. We try to produce the basal dressing fertilizer, so it’s exciting to see it being produced here. 

What’s more exciting is the modernization and precision agricultural thrust shown here. We have seen modern technology and the utilization of local raw materials, which is encouraging,” Professor Jiri stated.

The government aims to reduce fertilizer production costs to make crop production more affordable and reduce food prices in the market, essential for food security in Zimbabwe.

During the commissioning of the fertilizer plant, Marian Chombo, the Minister of Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Mashonaland West, highlighted that the project would create job opportunities for the youth in her province.

“While this may not be sufficient for the entire country, we will ensure that all farmers in Mashonaland West obtain their fertilizer from here. The other unique provision is customization, which we didn’t have before. 

We only had customization in Banket, but it was only available to a few farmers. Now, we are making it accessible to all farmers after they have conducted their soil tests,” Chombo explained.

Currently Fertop Agriculture employs 60 full time technical staff while preparations are being made to employ locals from Norton once full productions starts. 

Due to the high cost of synthetic fertilizers in Africa, farmers are advised to use organic fertilizers. However, for commercial farming, most farmers find it difficult to meet soil nutrient requirements using organic fertilizers, leading to high demand for synthetic fertilisers.

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