Zimbabwe has received around 2,000 high-tech tractors, 80 combine harvesters, and other agricultural equipment from Belarus over the past three years. This equipment has been provided at concessional rates under the Belarus Farm Mechanisation Facility, to modernise the agricultural sector and increase productivity, The Sunday Mail reported citing authorities.
The machinery has been distributed to all districts in the country. The implementation of Phase 3 of the facility has begun, and it is expected to deliver an additional 4,000 tractors starting this year.
Eng. Edwin Zimunga, the chief director responsible for agricultural engineering, mechanisation, post-harvest agro-processing, and soil conservation, highlighted that the delivery of this machinery is a significant step towards modernising local agriculture. He said:
The range of equipment that was delivered through the government-to-government programme covers issues to do with land preparation and tillage, planting and sowing, chemigation, fertigation, as well as weeding.
They also cover issues around harvesting through modern combine harvesters, and post-harvest agro-processing is also not left out . . .
To date, out of Phase 1 and Phase 2, we now have in excess of 2 000 tractors, 80 combine harvesters and many other attachments that are being used in the agricultural mechanisation space.
The range of equipment provided covers various aspects of farming, including land preparation, planting, irrigation, harvesting, and post-harvest processing. Modern combine harvesters have been introduced to improve the efficiency of harvesting operations.
Under Phase 3, there will be a focus on extending and upgrading strategic grain reserves. Farmers can access this equipment through farmer-friendly banks, such as CBZ, AFC Land Bank, Women’s Bank, and Youth Bank. They only need to make an initial payment of 15% and pay the remaining balance within an agreed period.
This initiative has resulted in a notable improvement in Zimbabwe’s agricultural machinery fleet, with the country now having 13,486 tractors and 303 combine harvesters, compared to 7,000 tractors in 2019.
Belarus has established BiSON Agro Machinery, a company in Harare that offers after-sales services, to ensure sustained support and maintenance for the equipment. The company also facilitates knowledge exchange and training between Belarusian and local engineers, enabling them to repair, maintain, and operate the machinery effectively.
Five years ago, Zimbabwe announced that it needed 40 000 tractors, at a time when only 9000 were available to work Zimbabwe’s 4 130 000ha of arable land. The southern African nation looked to Belarus and other suppliers in a bid to plug the gap.
One of the main beneficiaries of business agreements between Zimbabwe and Belarus is Aftrade, a business headed by infamous Belarusian tycoon Alexander Zingman. He was made Honourary Consul of Zimbabwe to the Republic of Belarus in January 2019. Aftrade has obtained contracts to develop grain storage facilities, supply tractors and harvesters to the government, and secure equipment deals in the mining and logging industries thanks to the visit of Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko to Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe also signed a US$51 million deal with US company John Deere for the supply of 1 300 tractors, 80 combine harvesters and other equipment. Zimbabwe engaged with India’s Mahindra, which abandoned a plan in 2018 to set up an assembly plant in Zimbabwe due to forex shortages.
Source Pindula News