Nordic fertiliser giant Yara International ASA has set its sights on Zimbabwe and other regional markets after announcing the purchase of Zambia’s Greenbelt Fertilizers in a $51 million deal announced on Friday.
Greenbelt Fertilizers is a leading distributor of fertilizers in Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique.
“This is a long-term investment in Zambia, and in the transformation of agriculture in Southern Africa,” said Yara’s CEO for Africa, Bernhard Fonseka. “Our decision to buy Greenbelt Fertilizers is based on our belief in the immense potential of smallholder and commercial farmers in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Mozambique.”
Zimbabwe frequently grapples with the shortage of nitrogen fertilizers, due to production capacity constraints and lack of capital.
The Zambian transaction comes two months after Yara opened a $30 million fertilizer terminal in Tanzania, signalling Yara’s drive to provide sustainable crop nutrition to African farmers.
Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Mozambique form part of one of the world’s fastest growing agricultural regions, but among smallholder farmers, the use of new technology and crop nutrition programmes remains low. Yara currently employs 80 agronomists to share knowledge with farming communities in 10 African countries, said Fonseka.
“By buying Greenbelt Fertilizers, Yara will be able to provide sustainable crop nutrition for more farmers, increase crop yield and quality, and increase farmers’ incomes,” he added.
The transaction is expected to close in first quarter 2016, subject to competition authority approval and other customary closing conditions.