Arda invests $600m in various projects

via Arda invests $600m in various projects | The Herald August 19, 2015

THE Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (Arda) has invested about $600 million in various projects since dollarisation through public private partnerships, an official has said. Some of the major projects were implemented this year, resulting in more than 10 estates either revived or expanded, Arda chairman Mr Basil Nyabadza said yesterday.

“I would say about $575 million has been invested since 2009 and we are still pursuing more PPPs to ensure all our estates are productive,” said Mr Nyabadza in an interview.

Arda, a State-owned company, owns 22 estates and some of its household estates include Katiyo Tea Estates, Arda Transau Estates, which was allocated to diamond mining companies operating in Marange to relocate families affected by their activities.

Arda also owns Chisumbanje Sugarcane Estates where it built a multi-million dollar ethanol plant, Green Fuel, its biggest investment since the adoption of the multi-currency system.

In Matabeleland North, Mr Nyabadza said Arda has successfully revived five estates which are at various stages of implementation. These include a 600-hectare wheat farm at Antelope Estate while land preparations are progressing at Ngwezi farm. The farm is earmarked for maize production during the forthcoming cropping season.

Arda has also partnered a Chinese investor for cotton production at Jotsholo Estate.

In partnership with local investors, it now has a mixed beef cattle herd of about 700 at Sedgewick.

In Mashonaland, Doren’s Pride Livestock Estate has been revived and 300 cattle have since been imported from Namibia for breeding. Arda is also targeting to grow 300ha of maize in summer.

Mr Nyabadza said they decided to grow maize at most of the estates in preference of cash crops such as soya beans to achieve food security.

He said Arda deployed state of the art equipment at Nandi Sugarcane Estate in Chiredzi and at Fair Acres Estate in the Midlands Province where it is growing maize and wheat.

In partnership with Schweppes Zimbabwe, Arda has finalised a deal to commence operations at Zagrinda, a tomato canning plant in Norton. Zagrinda is owned by Arda and the Development Trust of Zimbabwe on a 50-50 percent shareholding basis.

The project is the brainchild of the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo. The plant was to produce canned tomato largely for export markets.

“We secured a partner and we have finalised the agreement,” said Mr Nyabadza.

“We want the plant to be operational by November this year and the growing of tomato will start immediately.”

Schweppes is providing working capital.

The project is expected to create thousands of jobs directly and through out-grower schemes.

“We have made progress this year to ensure that all our estates are productive,” he said.

“We are pleased with the momentum. We have a clear mandate from the Minister (of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Dr Joseph Made) that we should produce at least to meet the minimum standards of the Zim-Asset.”