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September 22, 2008

Zimbabwe fertiliser shortage to affect upcoming rain season

Zimbabwe faces a huge shortfall of its fertilizer requirements ahead of the coming farming season, outgoing Agriculture Minister Rugare Gumbo has said.

The revelation has sparked fears of renewed food shortages next year. Shortages of food have become a permanent feature since 2000, the year when commercial farms invaded throughout the country.

Gumbo said the nation had a huge shortfall of over 35 000 tonnes of fertilizer ahead of the farming season owing to failure by the fertilizer manufacturing companies to produce because of a number of challenges. He said the fertilizer manufacturing companies had only produced 12 000 tonnes out of the targeted 30 000 tonnes despite receiving US$13 million from the central bank to facilitate production.

South African President Thabo Mbeki at the signing of the power sharing ceremony on September 15 pledged that his country would provide immediate assistance with the much-needed farming inputs in preparation for the forthcoming season.

President Robert Mugabe has defended the land reform programme saying it was necessary to right the wrongs of the colonial past. Mugabe blames food shortages on droughts while experts cite poor planning on the part of government ahead of each farming season.

Zimbabwe Times

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