Kudakwashe Mugari Deputy News Editor
GOVERNMENT has assured farmers that they are eligible to access equipment for the assembling of tractors, combine harvesters and disc harrows under the US$50 million John Deere facility, with the equipment expected to arrive in the country on Wednesday next week.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa, while presenting the 6th Cabinet Meeting Decisions Matrix of 2020 yesterday, said Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister Perrance Shiri informed Cabinet about the issue.
‘‘Minister Shiri informed Cabinet that equipment for assembling tractors, combine harvesters, disc harrows and planters under the John Deere facility is expected to arrive on 18 March, 2020,” she said.
“Farmers can access them through Agribank.’’
Government signed a US$50 million deal with John Deere that will see the agricultural equipment manufacturer supplying 1 300 tractors.
Minister Shiri said all farmers were eligible to access the equipment.
“I want to assure the farmers that the interest rate will be reasonable,’’ he said. “All farmers are eligible, with the banks to determine the requirements.’’
Minister Shiri said he was optimistic the deal will help farmers boost production and be competitive.
He said his ministry will not be involved in the allocation of the equipment.
In the past, Government, through the Ministry of Agriculture distributed equipment and inputs.
Minister Shiri said John Deere will provide funds for the facility, while Agribank will provide the final selection of farmers to be granted the loans.
“In the past, the Government has been criticised on allegations of promoting favouritism on allocation of agricultural equipment, this time the ministry will not be involved,” he said.
“All complaints to do with allocation must be directed to the banks.’’
The deal follows President Mnangagwa’s engagement with John Deere Agriculture Worldwide president Mr Mark von Pentz, where the businessman registered his willingness to partner Government in boosting agriculture.
Government has acquired 12 000 tractors from a requirement of 40 000, with over 50 000 A2 farmers expected to operate on a commercial basis.
The John Deere deal is expected to complement efforts towards achieving a greater efficiency in farm mechanisation.