Friday, September 27, 2013

(SUNDAY MAIL ZW) US$98m for agric mechanisation
Sunday, 01 September 2013 00:00
Faith Mhandu

Government intends to use the US$98 million it expects to get from Brazil, as part of a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two countries, to improve agricultural mechanisation.

The outgoing Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, Dr Joseph Made, confirmed the plans in an interview at the Harare Agricultural Show last week.

“We are receiving a US$98 million facility from Brazil mainly to boost our mechanisation which has been lagging behind in the past four years due to differences in the inclusive Government,” he said.

Dr Made disclosed that most of the money will go towards the acquisition of irrigation equipment.

“For the past few years we have noticed a change in our weather patterns because of climate change. Therefore, irrigation equipment is one of our top priorities.

“We also need to resuscitate the already existing irrigation schemes that were abandoned.

“Some of the machinery will also pave way for developments in other sectors.

“For example, if we expand our irrigation at Chisumbanje ethanol plant and improve the river system, we will be able to generate at least 18 megawatts of energy at Chisumbanje only,” he said.

Dr Made added that livestock farmers will also benefit from the exercise.

“I have been looking around at various stands of agriculture equipment and noticed new livestock machines like the milking machine which was displayed by the Italians.

“This is the equipment we need and should be acquiring for our farmers,” he said.

Dr Made noted that the agricultural sector is poised for growth in the next five years under the leadership a new Zanu-PF Government that prioritises the development of farming.

In his address while officially opening the show on Friday, President Mugabe pledged to fund and mechanise the agricultural sector to ensure food security for the nation, saying farmers were deliberately suffocated by the inclusive Government.

The Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces underscored the need to address the needs of the farming community.

“Mechanisation is critical for increased production and productivity.
“To this end, the Government will secure funding facilities and continue to pursue appropriate mechanisation programmes that will address the needs of the farming community,” he said.

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