Zambia on Thursday started the export of 15,000 metric tons of fertilizer to Botswana, the first of its kind for Zambia which has always been a net importer of fertilizer.
The fertilizer was produced by United Capital Fertilizer Limited, a subsidiary of the Chinese conglomerate Wonderful Group of Companies Limited after it was given a contract to supply D-compound fertilizer to the Ministry of Agriculture of Botswana for the 2023/2024 farming season.
Addressing a ceremony to flag off the dispatch of 30 trucks delivering fertilizer — 900 metric tons — to Botswana, Chipoka Mulenga, the Zambian minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry, said the export of fertilizer was a milestone for the country known to be a net importer of the commodity.
“Zambia has always been known to be a country that is a net importer of anything. But what we are seeing is the beginning of the country becoming part of countries of net exporters,” he said.
He commended the Chinese firm for responding to the government’s calls for investment in the manufacturing sector, stressing that this was the only way the country was going to grow the economy and create jobs. He said the company’s plans to commence the manufacturing of D-compound and urea fertilizer at the new plant under construction next year will make Zambia fertilizer secure.
He said the production of D-compound fertilizer at the company entails that Zambia will not import the commodity hence saving money which will be channeled to other needy areas. He also commended Botswana over its decision to purchase fertilizer from Zambia, adding that this was what Africa needed if economies were to grow.
Chance Kabaghe, the chairman of the fertilizer firm, said the decision by Botswana to contract the company to produce and deliver the fertilizer was a mark of confidence in the quality of the company’s fertilizer.
He said the Botswana government decided to contract the company following stringent tests conducted by officials from that country on the quality of the fertilizer, adding that the company’s fertilizer has met international standards. He expressed happiness that the company has commenced manufacturing fertilizer at a time when the region was facing a crisis in accessing fertilizer due to a disruption in supply caused by the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
The company was ready to contribute to the southern African region becoming fertilizer secure, he added.
Alpheus Matlhaku, the Botswana high commissioner to Zambia, commended the company for the speedy delivery of the fertilizer at short notice. He said the fertilizer was meant for small-scale farmers in Botswana but noted that there was still a huge demand for fertilizer by commercial farmers which the company should take advantage of.
The envoy said Botswana and Zambia have cooperated over the years, a situation that has resulted in cooperation in various economic sectors of the two countries. The government, he said, decided to give the contract to the company, after a stringent inspection of its production and quality control process.
Source: English News