Zimbabwe-Bound Russian Fertiliser Gift Arrives Mozambique’s Docks

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News in brief:
– Russia’s 26,000 tonnes of free fertiliser shipment headed to Zimbabwe has arrived in Mozambique, offering hope to the struggling agricultural sector amid a delayed rainy season.

– The country already has concerns about potential food insecurity later in 2024 as it has only planted 95,156 hectares by mid-December 2023, compared to 465,707 hectares by the same time in 2022.

Much-needed relief has arrived for Zimbabwean farmers as a Russian-donated shipment of 26,000 tonnes of fertiliser docked in the Mozambican port of Beira over the weekend. This timely delivery, coinciding with the delayed start of the rainy season, offers a flicker of hope for the country’s struggling agricultural sector.

The fertiliser shipment forms part of a larger pledge made by Russia at the 2023 Russia-Africa Summit, when the Kremlin delegates promised grain and fertiliser donations to African nations grappling with food security concerns exacerbated by the Ukraine war. Zimbabwe received a pledge of 50,000 tonnes, with half now awaiting clearance and the remainder expected later this year.

Permanent Secretary in Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water, and Rural Development, Professor Obert Jiri, confirmed the arrival of the fertiliser. He expressed hope for a swift completion of clearance procedures to get the vital supplies to farmers.

The shipment comprises 16,000 tonnes of potash and 10,000 tonnes of nitrogen fertiliser, crucial for boosting crop yields.

This timely boost is particularly critical given the sluggish start to the planting season. Delayed and erratic rains have hampered planting efforts. Figures as of mid-December showed only 95,156 hectares of maize planted compared to a significantly higher 465,707 hectares during the same period in 2022.

Also, while the country currently holds 240,000 tonnes of maize reserves, sufficient for the next seven months, concerns remain regarding potential food insecurity later in the year. Professor Jiri acknowledged this possibility, with July likely marking a critical juncture.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe is not the only African nation benefiting from Russian aid. Burkina Faso and Somalia have already received grain shipments, while Eritrea, Mali, and the Central African Republic are next in line, a news report says.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine significantly disrupted global food security, particularly impacting vulnerable nations in Africa and the developing world. Rising food costs and increased dependence on food aid have become major challenges for these regions.

Joseph Akahome
Joseph Akahome
Joseph O Akahome (OJ) is a writer, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Literature from the University of Benin. He is an avid agriculturist, with a bias for poultry and an insatiable appetite for chicken wings. When he is neither reading nor researching, he likes to spend recreational time playing board games, or swimming in serene forested lakes.

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