SOLE Ammonium Nitrate (AN) fertiliser producer, Sable Chemicals, has appealed for Government support in securing foreign currency to beef up production and meet demand ahead of the 2018/19 summer cropping season.
Board chairman, Dr Shingi Mutasa, revealed the company was facing serious production challenges owing to foreign currency shortages.
The firm can only supply 28 percent of AN fertiliser demand required for the 2018/19 summer farming season and the rest has to be imported.
Speaking during the Kwekwe business conference on Friday, Dr Mutasa said Sable Chemicals was a strategic firm in the agriculture sector hence it required more Government support.
“When President Emmerson Mnangagwa visited the plant in June, we highlighted to him, in fact he was very supportive of the idea, which has a positive impact on local production.
“We believe that Sable, given the support we require, we are a game changer in the agriculture industry,” said Dr Mutasa.
He said investing in Sable was the cheapest option that Government has of boosting, not only the agriculture sector, but the economy as a whole.
“We are therefore, seeking support from RBZ, from institutions that allocate foreign currency, to say this is the cheapest option our country has. But if we do not get that support, we continue to have an expensive agricultural crop in this country. But if we produce cheaply, our competitors are compelled to reduce their prices,” said Dr Mutasa.
“Government has stated time and again that they will support us in anyway and we are grateful for that.
“We invested about $200 million into the company and we have since switched our electrolysis plant and resorted to using chrome ore.
“But feasibility studies are still going on at the company and we are confident that the project will be very successful.
“That is also why we are saying we need to be considered for that allocation.”
The company is currently producing at 30 percent capacity against a possible 240 000 tonnes per month.
Farmers have struggled to access fertilisers as the country has resorted to importation of such inputs.
Dr Mutasa chairs Masawara Group of Companies, which owns Sable Chemicals and Zimnat Life among others.