A FERTILIZER STRATEGY FOR ZIMBABWE
FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS
AFRICAN CENTRE FOR FERTILIZER DEVELOPMENT
A FERTILIZER STRATEGY FOR ZIMBABWE
FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS ROME 1999
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A fertilizer strategy for Zimbabwe
With a view to developing a fertilizer strategy, this study examines the cumulative effect of relevant factors on future fertilizer use in Zimbabwe. A specific objective is to provide an estimate of the fertilizer needed to support agricultural crop production for 2020. In Zimbabwe, 62 percent of households are poor or very poor and several macro-economic indicators are negative. However, Zimbabwe is undergoing a process of market reform and structural adjustment. Projections indicate annual income increases of 1.1 percent for the period 1995-2007 (with a 20 percent increase in per caput caloric food intake by the end of 2007) and 3.8 percent for the period 2007-2020. Agriculture employs one-third of the total workforce, provides 60 percent of all raw materials for the manufacturing industry, and accounts for more than 40 percent of total exports. However, annual agricultural output growth at 1.4 percent has been below the population growth rate (3 percent). The major crops are maize, wheat, cotton, tobacco and sugar cane. Despite deregulation, oligopolies are the norm for most commodities. The agriculture sector is dual in structure with both commercial farming and subsistence oriented smallholder activities. Between 1983 and 1993, crop production value in the smallholder sector increased twice as fast as that in the commercial sector. However, smallholder yields are significantly lower. Projections for the agriculture sector indicate gross output growth of 5 percent per year, thereby contributing over 21 percent to GDP in the short to medium term. Irrigated crop production accounts for almost half of the total value of all crops marketed and its area could double. Out of 19 million ha of arable land, about 2.7 million ha are under cultivation (60 percent of it under rainfed maize). The demand for maize will increase to about 4.5 million t by 2020, with the smallholder sector bringing another 2.8 million ha into maize production. Wheat is mainly a large-scale commercial farming operation, with current production of about 190 000 t meeting two-thirds of total demand, projected to be 842 000 t by 2020. The smallholder sector produces the bulk of cotton, an important foreign exchange earner. Projections are for cotton production to fall 64 percent to 56 000 t in 2020. Tobacco is the country major export crop. The crop area in s the smallholder sector should increase by 2.6 percent per year, so doubling the area under the crop by 2020. Sugar cane production should grow from 3.2 million t in 1995 to 4.2 million t in 2020, but smallholder production is negligible. There is ample margin for improving land use efficiency in the large-scale farming sector and for achieving greater land productivity among smallholders. Zimbabwe major crops enjoy a strong comparative advantage and export prospects s appear good. Large-scale commercial farmers purchase about 350 000 t of fertilizer a year; smallholder farmers about 100 000 t. Total fertilizer demand is projected to grow at 3 percent per year, mostly because of more intensive fertilizer use by smallholders. Zimbabwe used an amount of
fertilizer equivalent to 186 000 t of N, P, K1 and S nutrients (1995). Analysis of production projections and expanded land use for the five major crops2 in 2020 show an overall nutrient requirement of 403 000 t nutrients (N 256 000 t of P 86 000 t and 61 000 t of K) to support future crop yields. The coefficients of elasticity for the five main crops show that the own-price elasticity of the demand for fertilizer applied on these crops are high for both farming sectors. The cross-price elasticity for the demand for fertilizers with respect to the cotton and maize prices in the smallholder sector is highly inelastic. There is an important need to monitor the improvement of the efficiency in fertilizer use, particularly on measures that aim to improve the productivity of the capital invested in fertilizer by farmers. A continued effort is required to collect data from farmers on fertilizer use per crop. This information, fertilizer costs and produce prices at the farm gate as well as farm household income establishes fertilizer profitability and the farmers ability to pay for fertilisers. The process of production commercialization requires smallholders to attain and maintain substantially higher levels of crop productivity through the adoption of new technologies and management practices. This process calls for balanced and efficient fertilizer use. In the smallholder sector, cash income accounts for nearly 53 percent of total income, with crops contributing nearly 73 percent of total cash income in rural households. A policy that promotes increased crop production should improve smallholder incomes. Income is the key to farmers ability to adopt more effective and sustainable production technologies. Smallholders will adopt production intensification when risks and constraints are reduced. Without policy measures that ensure adequate farm income, it may be difficult to increase smallholder fertilizer consumption. Almost 70 percent of smallholders use fertilizers, though many purchase less than one bag per year. Farmers indicate that their cash position is the most important factor affecting the amount they apply. Credit facilities for rural traders and farmers are insignificant. The commercialization of public services and the use of revolving funds should partially compensate for the lack of public financing, and introduce a different approach in servicing farmers. Research and support services need the capacity to support the smallholder sector effectively and efficiently. They should focus more on a farm management approach and on disseminating IPNS. More participatory programmes involving farmers' unions and producers' associations would enhance the sustainability of research programmes. Zimbabwe fertilizer industry is undergoing restructuring. Domestic ammonium nitrate s production of 250 000 t meets over 90 percent of the country's total requirements. Domestic production of nitrogenous fertilizer may become unfeasible when energy cost increase. Zimbabwe produces about 150 000 t of phosphate rock concentrate and has an annual production capacity of 200 000 t of single superphosphate and 60 000 t of triple superphosphate. The total annual production capacity of Zimbabwe fertilizer granulation plants is 300 000 t. s Among the key parameters for future economic success are an open economy, smallholder access to markets and inputs, and measures to increase land use efficiency and productivity. Increased smallholder production and fertilizer use will depend on high producer prices and affordable fertilizer. Achieving the latter requires improvements in access, financing, infrastructure, marketing, training, and research and extension services.
Figures throughout the report relate to P and K, not to P2O5 and K2O. Maize, tobacco, cotton, wheat, and sugar cane.
A fertilizer strategy for Zimbabwe
INTRODUCTION THE MACRO-ECONOMIC SETTING AND AGRICULTURE POLICYThe macro-economy Agriculture policy
NATURAL REGIONS AND AGRO-ECOLOGICAL ZONESClimate Land suitability Nutrient balance
77 7 11
THE AGRICULTURE SECTORRole in the economy Agricultural production Maize Wheat Cotton Tobacco Sugar cane Irrigated agriculture Marketing Trends Comparative advantage and export prospects
1313 14 14 16 16 17 17 17 18 19 19
FERTILIZER DEMANDFertilizer consumption by crop Maize Wheat Cotton Tobacco Sugar cane Profitability Procurement
2323 24 24 24 27 27 25 31
FERTILIZER SUPPLY THE SMALLHOLDER FARMING SECTORSmallholder income Smallholder fertilizer consumption Constraints and developments Fertilizer use Access Infrastructure and logistics Developments
33 3535 36 38 38 38 39
INSTITUTIONAL ASPECTSRegulations Research and extension Farmers organizations
4141 41 44
45 49 55 96
BIBLIOGRAPHY Annex 1 Fertilizer Adoption and Use MAP OF THE NATURAL REGIONS OF ZIMBABWE
List of tables1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. Agro-ecological zones: climate, physiography and soils Cultivated land, 1995, and potential for expansion Land suitability for rainfed maize production Crop yield (t/ha) and area change (%) per annum by farming sector Demand and supply utilization account, 1994/96, 2007 and 2020 Indicators of comparative advantage for Zimbabwe International price projections for agricultural export commodities (constan