Agribank has dispatched the first eight combine harvesters under the Special Vehicle Purpose facility to provinces to help farmers harvest wheat.
The combine harvesters are part of the US$51 million John Deere facility that was launched by President Mnangagwa to transform the agriculture sector and ensure food security.
The Government gave Agribank permission to establish a special purpose vehicle, a financial entity to lease and manage agriculture implements as part of measures to boost farm production and efficiency.
In an interview at the Institute of Agriculture Engineering in Hatcliffe yesterday where the machinery was being loaded, Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Deputy Minister Vangelis Haritatos said combine harvesters will help farmers to harvest their crop early.
“In the past, farmers would lose the whole season because they could not get the crop off the fields quickly so when we are looking at these combine harvesters, they are the future of agriculture. We are looking at a farmer, who is going to farm; never mind precision farming, smart agriculture, but a farmer that will be able to pull the crop off in time to be able to prepare for next season. Under the Agribank SPV, our farmers will be able to hire combine harvesters. We urge wheat farmers to approach Agribank,” he said.
Agribank executive director for retail banking and agricultural development, Mr Francis Macheka said the facility was going to aid agriculture development.
“It is a facility that we have been asked by Government to administer and ensure our farmers get assistance in terms of both harvesting and tillage services. Now we are administering combine harvesters, but the plan is that we are going to have quite a number of large tractors brought on board and these will be used for tillage based on the lease-hire procedure,” he said.