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Zimbabwe faces 30 000 tractor deficit

by Staff reporter
30 Sep 2019 at 07:19hrs | Views
THE Government is working on intensifying its farm mechanisation as it forges ahead to improve agricultural productivity amid revelations the country is faced with a deficit of more than 30 000 tractors.

Addressing provincial heads and farmers in Matabeleland North Province recently, Agriculture, Land, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Deputy Minister Vangelis Peter Haritatos said the Government had lined up a number of farm mechanisation programmes as part of its efforts to enhance agricultural productivity and boosting the country's food security.

"We have three major schemes. We have the Belarusian facility of US$52 million, that one is coming on board… we are expecting deliveries of tractors, planters, combines hopefully by November, December the latest. I know that this is a little bit late but the challenges are that we don't produce enough foreign currency as a nation and the deposit we have paid is not enough. Therefore, we are pushing the RBZ (Reserve of Zimbabwe) to source the foreign currency and pay," he said.

Belarus is home to major tractor manufacturer Minsk Tractor Works.

"We have a deficit of 33 000 tractors, 10 000 planters and 500 combine harvesters in our country. That's shocking and that affects our productivity and efficiencies as farmers," said Dep Minister Haritatos.

He said the Government was also working on two other facilities notably the John Deere and Brazilian's More Food Africa.

"We have the US$51 million John Deere facility and then we have the More Food (Africa) facility, which is the Brazilian facility.

"We owe some money on the Brazilian deal and that needs to be paid before they release the next phase, which is another US$30 million. So we are on top of things as regards mechanisation," said Dep Minister Haritatos.

John Deere is expected to supply 80 combine harvesters, 1 300 tractors, 200 disc harrows, 400 planters, 200 seed drills, 100 boom sprayers, 100 tipping trailers and spare parts.

The machinery will be supplied via a loan arrangement to be handled by Agribank.

More Food for Africa programme saw the distribution of irrigation equipment, tractors and implements after the Government had secured a US$98 million loan facility from Brazil in 2014.

Dep Minister Haritatos said the Pedstock centre pivots irrigation facility Phase 2 would soon be rolled out soon.

"Another priority is irrigation and currently we have the Pedstock facility, which is a Spanish facility for centre pivots that is being brought in. Phase one has been completed. We are now at Phase 2 and again resources are limiting the rolling out of this (facility) but we should have finished Phase 2 (by now) instead of just starting. We need to produce enough foreign currency in our country. We are net importers. We need to be net exporters and up until we are net exporters we will always have challenges of foreign currency," he said.

Dep Minister Haritatos said the Government was also involved in a number of irrigation development programmes.

"We are also on a drive for the rehabilitation of irrigation schemes.

"We have a programme of putting 200 hectares per district per year. We also have a new company called Maka (Resources) on board who will develop 100 000 hectares for irrigation in the next three years.

"So those that live next to water bodies must be beneficiaries of this irrigation scheme programme…," he said.

Dep Minister Haritatos said the Government was engaged in water harvesting programmes while also promoting conservation agriculture.

"Our Government continues with water harvesting; we insist on conservation agricultural practices.

"We have the construction of 19 major dams. We have a borehole drilling programme done by Zinwa (Zimbabwe National Water Authority) within our Ministry and I am also happy to tell you that DDF (District Development Fund) have availed $43 million for the drilling of boreholes," he said.

Dep Minister Haritatos said the Ministry had received more proposals to fund the country's agricultural activities.

"We do have three or four other proposals that have been put through our Ministry but they have not been approved and they are probably worth around US$30 to US$40 million," he said.

Source - sundaymail

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