Government and its partners will distribute at least 9 000 tractors under various agriculture schemes ahead of the 2022/23 summer cropping season, as part of efforts to boost productivity and ensure Zimbabwe self-sufficiency in the production of cereals.
Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development minister, Anxious Masuka, said the government will avail 4 500 tractors and over 200 combine harvesters.
“The localisation of projects has been extended to equipment manufacture, dam construction and localisation of fertiliser and chemicals production,” Masuka said.
As was first reported by Business Times two weeks ago, Zimbabwe has 7895 tractors from a national requirement of 40 000 with only 5500 tractors being functional.Masuka said in all these endeavours, the government would be an active player and an active facilitator.
Analysts said Pfumvudza/Intwasa was mainly for food security but mechanisation was needed to ramp up production to become a recognised player in Africa and beyond.
Recently, Masuka said the government was targeting to acquire 3127 tractors with the Belarus facility providing 1337 tractors, John Deere providing 440, William Bain 750 and smallholder mechanisation providing 600 tractors.
It is not only the tractors that Zimbabwe has a deficit. It has 176 combine harvesters against a demand of 600 and 1026 planters against a requirement of 20 000.
A number of farmers are facing tillage, cultivating, spraying and transport challenges as most growers lack modern equipment, which is more efficient.
Analysts said more should be done to equip A2 and commercial farmers to grow the economy through agriculture.
Zimbabwe National Farmers Union chairman Stewart Mubonderi said the government should continue pushing mechanisation to increase output.
“At least, the government has started to scale up the mechanisation drive which will go a long way in capacitating the farmers to ramp up production and productivity,” he said.
Zimbabwe has embarked on various mechanisation programmes but the numbers remain low.
Under the Brazilian Food for Africa programme, farmers in different provinces have benefited from the latest farming equipment.
The country has struck another deal with Belarus, which has pledged to aid the country with the very latest equipment in the agricultural sector.
The government has urged the private sector to complement government efforts in reviving the economy.