Thursday, September 13, 2007

(HERALD) Government buys 3 500 more tractors

Government buys 3 500 more tractors
By Innocent Ruwende

GOVERNMENT has bought 3 500 more tractors under the agriculture mechanisation programme and they are expected in the country over the next six months. Part of the consignment is due before the onset of the rains and will be used in the forthcoming summer cropping season.

The Minister of State for Agriculture Engineering, Mechanisation and Irrigation, Cde Joseph Made, said measures had been put in place to ensure that there would be no defective tractors.

"The country will receive at total of 3 500 tractors from different countries within the next six months. As we prepare for the farming season, we want to make sure that we have all the machinery needed,’’ said Cde Made.

"We are very happy that we are getting tractors of well-known brands, but we are warning companies that we are strengthening our inspection on all products. We will not leave any stone unturned as we want the best products for our farmers. We want to make sure that we will get the products we asked for. Companies supplying the tractors and other farming equipment risk losing business if they supply defective products."

Earlier in the day, Cde Made met Malaysian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Cheah Choong Kit, who reaffirmed his country’s commitment to providing and servicing agriculture implements for Zimbabwe. Cde Made said they discussed ways in which Malaysia could help Zimbabwe boost its cotton production.

"There is need for farmers to venture into cotton production as we are in high need of the crop. Cotton must be grown side by side with food crops where possible. Cotton is useful for edible oil and its by-products are used to feed cattle, so in way we can improve our national herd," he said.

The minister stressed the need to grow food crops to save foreign currency spent in importing maize.

On Monday, Cde Made met Algerian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Ali Mokani.

"In our discussions we were finding ways in which Algeria can help Zimbabwe in the field of irrigation. In Africa, Algeria and Egypt produce the best agriculture machinery and equipment.

"We also want to learn from the Algerians on water application. They have desert conditions in their country but they do have good irrigation schemes, so we want to learn their methods even though we have better rainfall in Zimbabwe,’’ he said.

Cde Made said he had faith in the suitability and durability of Algerian-manufactured farming machinery, particularly tractors.

His office was setting up a division to focus on engineering and mechanisation with training and extension services.

"The equipment we are receiving is worth trillions of dollars and needs good service and maintenance.

"We are going to open maintenance centres countrywide to make sure that the machinery is well taken care of. We need part of our staff to learn what other countries have done,’’ he said.

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