Zimbabwe faces cement and fertiliser crisis, government opens up imports
Zimbabwe is facing a severe shortage of cement and fertiliser, which has pushed up the prices and disrupted the construction and farming sectors. To address this situation, the government has given the green light for individuals and companies with foreign currency to import these commodities from abroad.
The demand for cement in Zimbabwe has outstripped the local production capacity, resulting in a scarcity of the essential building material. The price of a 50kg bag of cement has soared from US$9-10 in September to US$20 or more in November, affecting many housing projects.
The Minister of Industry and Commerce, Dr. Sithembiso Nyoni, presented a report on the cement market situation to the Cabinet, which was chaired by Information minister Jenfan Muswere. He said the government has decided to allow cement imports by those who have free funds to ease the artificial shortage and stabilise the prices.
The government has also taken a similar measure for fertiliser, which is crucial for the upcoming summer cropping season. The country needs about 400,000 metric tonnes (MT) of basal and 380,000 MT of top dressing fertilisers per year, but the local industry is facing challenges and relies heavily on imports.
Muswere said the current stocks held by the Zimbabwe Fertilizer Manufacturers Association (ZFMA) and the Collateral Management Agreement (CMA) are insufficient to meet the growing demand. He said the government has authorised farmers to source fertilisers directly from foreign suppliers, while working on a long-term solution to the fertiliser challenges.