ZIMBABWE – Stakeholders in the agriculture industry have welcomed the recent government’s decision to suspend duty on fertilizer imports stating that the move will help reduce production costs and boost productivity.

Dr Shadreck Makombe, President of Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU) has expressed optimism for a fruitful season stating that the suspension of duty on fertilizer would alleviate the financial burden on farmers

He added that the move would also enhance farmers’ access to essential agricultural inputs to stimulate crop yields.

“We appreciate the suspension of tax on fertilizer by the Government.”

In a notice in an extraordinary Government Gazette published on October 11, the Minister of Finance, Economic Development, and Investment Promotion, Professor Mthuli Ncube, suspended the duty on fertilizer for approved importers.

This was in accordance with the terms of section 235 as read with section 120 of the Customs and Excise Act for 12 months.

 “As the duty suspension takes effect, farmers eagerly anticipate the positive impact it will have on the agriculture landscape and its potential to drive economic growth,” said Dr. Makombe

He explained that this can have a positive impact on agricultural productivity and potentially increase crop yields, as well as incentivize farmers to use more fertilizer on their crops.

This in turn can lead to increased agricultural production and potentially improve food security in the country.

“Besides causing other broad economic effects, the suspension of duty on fertilizer will also contribute to overall economic growth and potentially attract investment into the fertilizer industry and related sectors, which will create employment opportunities,” observed Dr Makombe.

He, however, urged the government to monitor the effectiveness of the move by checking the eventual prices in retail outlets to ensure farmers are not prejudiced of their perceived benefits.

On his part, Mr. Paul Zakariya, the ZFU Executive Director noted that there was a need to compare fertilizer prices before and after the suspension of duty and how they relate to the adjustment that has been made.

According to him, this would allow for the rematch that has been given to the importer and if there are no benefits, red flags must be raised in order to correct the issue.