Chinese firm to build US$700m fertiliser plants

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CHINESE regional fertiliser manufacturing giant, United Capital Fertiliser (UCF) Limited, is set to invest US$700 million in the construction of Compound D and Urea fertiliser manufacturing plants in Zimbabwe as part of its regional expansion plans.

Construction of a state-of-the-art fertiliser manufacturing plants is set to commence early next year with the Compound D plant, and this will contribute to the attainment of self-sufficiency in the supply of fertilisers in Zimbabwe.

Not only will this move bolster the country’s agricultural sector, promoting food security and boosting rural livelihoods, but it will also create job opportunities for the local population.

UCF recently took a significant step towards the implementation of its regional expansion plans by listing a US$500 million bond on the Botswana Stock Exchange at a colourful event last week in Gaborone. The historic move reinforced the company’s firm position as a leading player in the African fertiliser market and marks a new chapter in its ambitious regional growth strategy.

UCF is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Wonderful Group of Companies Limited.

Wonderful Group has significant experience and expertise in fertiliser manufacturing, specifically, coal to urea technology as well as coal mining and operation of coke oven batteries.

The group is currently the largest producer of granulated compound D fertilisers in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region through its production plant based outside of Lusaka in Zambia where it has invested about US$250 million and is currently constructing a coal-to-urea production plant in Zambia at a total cost of US$595 million.

Wonderful Group was founded and is run by Huang Yaochi, a Chinese national.

Chinese firm to build US$700m fertiliser plants

For the 2023/24 agricultural season, UCF has been supplying top-quality fertiliser to various countries in the SADC region, including Zambia, Botswana, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

Acknowledged for its state-of-the-art production facilities and the quality of its fertilisers, which are granulated and not blended, UCF has demonstrated a strong commitment to sustainable agricultural practices and promoting regional trade and the company is playing a vital role in supporting the region’s agricultural sector and driving economic growth.

To underpin this strong commitment, Mr Huang said: “We are particularly excited at the opportunity to bring our expertise in building large-scale industrial plants into Zimbabwe, specifically in the fertiliser production sector. We will commence construction of a state-of-the-art fertiliser manufacturing plant in early 2024, which will contribute to the attainment of self-sufficiency in the supply of Compound D fertilisers in Zimbabwe.

“We have successfully done this in Zambia and we can do the same in Zimbabwe in time for the 2024/25 agricultural season”.

A total of US$200 million allocated for the supply of fertilisers and construction of the fertiliser and coal mining production plants in 2024 and US$500 million for Urea

manufacturing plant. UCF is on track to deliver 30 000 tonnes of Urea and 30 000 of compound D for 2023/24 Zimbabwe farming season.

Zimbabwean authorities have toured the operations of the Wonderful Group of Companies in Zambia including UCF and have already entered into a Memorandum of Understanding. This gesture signifies the Government’s acknowledgment of the company’s impressive track record and their belief in UCF’s capacity to fuel Zimbabwe’s agricultural progress.

By seizing this opportunity to expand into Zimbabwe, UCF is poised to penetrate a new market and diversify its portfolio further. The company’s strong focus on innovative research and development ensures that it will continue to deliver cutting-edge fertiliser solutions to meet the evolving needs of farmers across the continent.

Moreover, UCF’s expansion plans reflect its vision of a more prosperous and sustainable Africa.

As a leading fertiliser manufacturer, the company acknowledges the critical role it can play in promoting sustainable agricultural practices, mitigating environmental impact, and enhancing the continent’s self-sufficiency in food production.

With its recent listing on the Botswana Stock Exchange and its upcoming expansion into Zimbabwe, United Capital Fertiliser Limited is solidifying its position as a key player in the African fertiliser market. As the company continues to innovate and grow, it remains steadfast in its mission to contribute to the continent’s agricultural success and drive economic development across Africa, with a specific focus on the SADC region.