Elita Chikwati Senior Agriculture Reporter
Local manufactures have started the production of farming implements worth US$13,5 million to be used as attachments to the tractors being imported under the John Deere and Belarus facilities.
Last year, the country imported tractors under the John Deere and Belarus facilities as part of Government’s efforts to transform the agriculture sector and ensure the industry became the pathway out of poverty and a pre-condition for economic growth and prosperity of the country.
Some of the implements to be used with the tractors will be imported.
In an update on mechanisation projects and programmes, Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development chief director for water and irrigation development, Engineer Tinayeshe Mutazu said farm implements to be manufactured locally included 500 rippers, 650 disc ploughs, 800 disc harrows, 500 boom sprayers and 200 maize shellers.
“Production of 250 disc harrows and 450 disc ploughs have commenced with 50-disc plough having been delivered,” he said.
Eng Mutazu said under phase 1 of the mechanisation projects, all the equipment had been delivered except for one combine harvester which was damaged during transportation and was returned to Belarus.
“The equipment includes 474 tractors, 59 combine harvesters, 210 seed-drills and five low-bed trucks,” he said.
“Treasury is still in the process of contracting the banks for distribution of the equipment to beneficiaries. However, training of operators from Government institutions commenced in June.”
Eng Mutazu said on phase2, Government was concluding the signing of the supply contract for the second phase.
“This will unlock 1 337 tractors, 16 combine harvesters and five disc harrows,” he said. “The equipment will be distributed to beneficiaries through local banks.”
The facility will extend loans of three to five years to participating farmers from the country’s eight provinces at a 5 percent interest rate.
The Ministry of Lands has continued to implement innovative agricultural programmes and adopt robust policies to further reinvigorate the sector.
Agricultural mechanisation is important in Zimbabwe as it lowers costs of production and increases competitiveness, though enabling farmers to leverage economies of scale.
Government has been promoting agricultural mechanisation so farmers can boost productivity and be globally competitive.