US$25 million AFDB support scheme to boost wheat production


Harare (New Ziana) -The government’s engagement and re-engagement drive is beginning to bear fruit in the agricultural sector as the country has since secured over US$25 million from the African Development Bank (AFDB) to finance over 8 000 hectares of wheat production.

Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Dr John Basera said this during the annual irrigation stakeholders meeting which the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) held in the capital on Thursday.

“The move for re-engagement and further strategic engagements are now paying dividend as the African Development Bank supported the Government of Zimbabwe with a grant package of about US$25.5 million dollars,” he said.

He said under the AFDB support program which will be administered by the Agriculture Finance Cooperation (AFC), between 8 000 and 9 000 hectares of wheat will be produced.

“So this program obviously entails preparing economies to look inward especially in light to the COVID-19 realities and also in light of the geo-political developments in Eastern Europe, whereby you have Ukraine, Russia and so on and so on contributing to about 30 to 40 percent to the global supply chain of wheat,” he said.

Dr Basera paid tribute to the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) for heeding the government’s call to ring fence electricity supply to the wheat production clusters.

He also hailed the government’s farm mechanisation program which he said was one of the critical touch points and ingredients for a successful winter wheat program.

“We believe that mechanisation and modernisation of agriculture will result definitely in improved agricultural production efficiencies and will definitely result ultimately in improving our competitiveness gaps,” he said.

Before the ushering in of the new dispensation there was a serious gap in mechanisation levels as there was a tractor power gap of about 20 000.

There were less than 6 000 tractors, but between last year and this year, there are about 12 000 tractors, with an additional 3 000 set to come this year.

Dr Basera said there were a number of tractor facilities that farmers can take advantage of, including the John Deere facility and the Belarus program.

New Ziana

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