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Zimbabwe gets 2 000 tractors from Belarus

by Staff reporter
04 Feb 2024 at 17:36hrs | Views
ZIMBABWE has received at least 2 000 high-tech tractors, 80 combine harvesters and other agricultural equipment from Belarus over the past three years to modernise the sector and boost productivity.

The equipment, which is now available in all the country's districts, has been supplied at concessional rates under Phases 1 and 2 of the Belarus Farm Mechanisation Facility.

Under Phase 3, whose implementation has commenced, 4 000 more tractors are expected to be delivered, starting this year.

Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development chief director responsible for agricultural engineering, mechanisation, post-harvest agro-processing and soil conservation, Engineer Edwin Zimunga, said delivery of the machinery is a step towards modernising local agriculture systems.

"The range of equipment that was delivered through the government-to-government programme covers issues to do with land preparation and tillage, planting and sowing, chemigation, fertigation, as well as weeding," he said.

"They also cover issues around harvesting through modern combine harvesters, and post-harvest agro-processing is also not left out . . .

"To date, out of Phase 1 and Phase 2, we now have in excess of 2 000 tractors, 80 combine harvesters and many other attachments that are being used in the agricultural mechanisation space."

During Phase 3, focus will be on strategic grain reserve extension and upgrade.
Farmers, Eng Zimunga said, can now access such equipment with the assistance of their extension officers deployed to every ward and district.

"All this equipment is being accessed through farmer-friendly banks: CBZ, AFC Land Bank, Women's Bank and Youth Bank. Farmers only need to make an initial payment of just 15 percent and pay the balance within the preferred period of time as agreed," he said.

Zimbabwe currently has a fleet of 13 486 tractors and 303 combine harvesters, which is a marked improvement from 7 000 tractors in 2019.

As bilateral relations between Harare and Minsk continue to deepen, the country is also expecting to receive 131 firefighting vehicles, with 55 such units having already been distributed.

Belarus, in agreement with Zimbabwe, has since established a company, BiSON Agro Machinery, in Harare to offer after-sales services for the equipment.

BiSON is also into the exchange of knowledge and expertise, where Belarusian engineers offer training to local engineers on how to repair, maintain and operate these machines.

The company's marketing director, Mr Andrei Kloeinov, said farmers are assured of professional after-sales services.

"Like any other mechanical machinery, tractors and combine harvesters require routine services, repairs and part replacement, and that is what we are ready to offer to our local farmers.

"It will not make economic sense to deliver machines and after a breakdown, they are thrown out due to failure to access required service and original spare parts," he said.

Farmers said they are satisfied with the effectiveness of the Belarus equipment, which they have been using in their operations.

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president Dr Shadreck Makombe said: "Through the mechanical implements, we reduce produce losses through efficiency while lessening labour requirements and time consumed in operations."

Mazowe's Nyamavanga Farmers Association member Mr Lloyd Chitate expressed gratitude for the deal after benefitting from the leasing scheme.

"We are really grateful for these facilities provided by the Government. We benefitted from the AFC leasing facility. A combine harvester and a tractor from Belarus have been servicing our fields during the winter wheat harvesting.

"This has helped us a lot, and we are now able to put more hectares under production, with the machines proving to be very effective," he said.

Source - The Sunday Mail