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Mnangagwa to launch tractor facility

by Staff reporter
24 Jun 2020 at 07:04hrs | Views
President Mnangagwa is tomorrow expected to launch the John Deere agricultural equipment supply facility that is part of Government's mechanisation development programme, said Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa, presenting the 21st Cabinet Decision Matrix yesterday.

Government entered into a US$50 million deal with the global tractor manufacturer in November 2018 which will see the company supplying 1 300 tractors, 80 combine harvesters and other related agricultural equipment.

The deal was signed following President Mnangagwa's engagement with John Deere Agriculture Worldwide president Mr Mark von Pentz who expressed his willingness to partner the Government in boosting the agriculture sector through mechanisation.

"Regarding the mechanisation development programme, the assembling of semi-knocked down kits of combine harvesters, planters and tractors under Belarus Support Facility is underway. The programme is to be administered through banks.

"The John Deere equipment supply facility is set to be launched by His Excellency the President on Thursday June 25, 2020," Minister Mutsvangwa said.

Government also entered into an agreement with Belarus for the supply of farming implements and buses when the President made a State visit to the country at the beginning of last year.

Minister Mutsvangwa also said Cabinet was briefed by the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement, Perrance Shiri on the progress made in the implementation of the agricultural recovery plan.

The programme includes the climate-proofed Presidential inputs support programme (Pfumvudza Concept) in which 1 324 farmers and 1 117 agricultural extension workers have been trained, with inputs procurement at an advanced stage.

The Command Agriculture programme for the 2020-2021 summer cropping season targets productive farmers on irrigated and dryland areas for the production of maize, wheat, soya beans, traditional grains and sunflowers.

The programme is administered under a financial services sector-led commercial contract farming model. Other elements of the recovery plan in which progress has been recorded are: irrigation development; capacitating of extension services delivery; value chain financing; and promotion of sesame seed production for export.

In a brief on the Covid-19 pandemic Minister Mutsvangwa revealed that cumulative rapid screening and PCR tests conducted so far had hit 63 347 (36 126 RDT and 27 221 PCR) as of Monday with 512 citizens testing positive for Covid-19, most of them being returnees mainly from South Africa.

She said all district, provincial and infectious diseases hospitals are capacitated to handle patients with mild to moderate symptoms.

 To determine the extent of Covid-19 infections in the country, the minister said that the Ministry of Health and Child Care will carry out a three-week survey starting from June 29.

Approximately 2 000 households averaging five members across the country will partake in the cross-sectional sore-epidemiological exercise.

On the reopening of schools, and the June 2020 Zimsec examinations, Minister Mutsvangwa said preparations were on track as the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education was in compliance with the High Court ruling compelling it to ascertain that all necessary measures were in place, to ensure health and safety of learners, teachers and ancillary staff.

"Universities have donated 10 000 litres of sanitisers, which are adequate for use by the 800 examination centres throughout the country", she confirmed, adding: "Furthermore, Treasury has availed funding for the drilling of boreholes and purchase of infrared thermometers."

The minister said borehole drilling and rehabilitation was ongoing in Harare and Bulawayo to mitigate the water shortages being experienced in the two cities. To that end, Minister Mutsvangwa revealed, Treasury has released $7,4 million for the drilling of 10 boreholes in Bulawayo, and other parts of the country.

Minister Mutsvangwa said Cabinet also clarified the 50 percent salary review and the US$75 Covid-19 allowance recently awarded to civil servants by Government, saying it was not part of the normal salary and wage review process.

"The increment was awarded on the backdrop of rising inflation which was eroding the purchasing power of the ZW$ and the continued price increases. The normal salary and wage negotiations are expected to continue as normal, and should not be affected by the recently awarded salary increases," she said.

Cabinet also received an update from the Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Winston Chitando on the attainment of the US$12 billion milestone in the mining sector with discussions focussing on a number of existing and new initiatives.

Source - the herald