Govt, John Deere strike deal
Harare (New Ziana) – Cabinet on Tuesday approved a US$51 million agriculture mechanisation facility with John Deere which will see farmers acquiring farm equipment under a loan scheme.
Farm mechanisation country-wide is part of government’s overall aim to ensure the country’s food security.
With over 70 percent of Zimbabweans living off agriculture, there have been calls for the government to invest more in farm mechanisation to increase agricultural production.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the facility would extend loans with a tenure of between three and five years at a five percent interest rate.
She was speaking at a post-Cabinet press conference.
“The equipment to be imported under the scheme includes 80 combine harvesters, 1300 tractors, 200 disc harrows, 400 planters, 200 seed drills, 100 boom sprayers ,100 tipping trailers and fast moving spare parts for each of the equipment and machinery,” she said.
“Furthermore training will be given to farmers so as to guarantee sustainability of the programme.”
Meanwhile, Mutsvangwa said Cabinet was briefed on preparations for the upcoming farming season.
She said after some discussions, Cabinet agreed on the several key strategies to enhance productivity including re-activating farmers’ clubs and associations to help improve information sharing among farmers.
She said focus would also be put on increasing productivity per unit area.
Government, she said, would also prioritise attracting investors in the fertilizers and agro-chemical subsectors while facilitating local banks to increase their support to agriculture.
“The fact that fertiliser and agro-chemicals are very difficult to get and expensive we are encouraging individual farmers who have got free funds to import duty free in order to ensure timeous availability in order to enhance productivity,” she said.
Mutsvangwa said government would also intensify the rehabilitation of irrigation facilities countrywide in order to fully utilise the country’s abundant water resources.