“Supply and demand trends for fertilizer in Zimbabwe: 1930 to date”: Key drivers and lessons learnt

The fertilizer sector in Zimbabwe has evolved over the years in response to different policy changes based on the government’s priorities on agricultural development. The industry grew from the 1930s that targeted primarily large scale commercial farmers, through the liberalization period of the mid 1990s, and recent changes that have introduced controls on the marketing system. Since 2000, following the fast track land reform program, Zimbabwe has faced food insecurity challenges that have been exacerbated by the political and economic crises. This prompted the government to adopt policies that have reduced private sector interests in fertilizer supply. In this situation where explicit fertilizer markets have been absent, relief programs have been leading in facilitating deliveries of fertilizers to poorer smallholder farmers located even in remote areas. The supply of fertilizers in Zimbabwe has been driven by government policy, finance and infrastructure while the demand has primarily been a function of farmer’s capacity to acquire fertilizers, availability of water and farmers knowledge of fertilizer use. There is need for a policy shift that promotes a competitive fertilizer marketing to support a broader range of farmers in Zimbabwe leading to agricultural productivity growth. Investment in infrastructure is critical to reduce marketing costs and to boost fertilizer demand; policies that strengthen farmer’s capacity to acquire fertilizers and increase their knowledge on fertilizer use complemented by technologies that promote water use efficiencies are needed.

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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-22

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