Agriculture

Maka to expand footprint in Africa

PHILLIMON MHLANGA

Zimbabwe’s sole irrigation centre pivots manufacturer, Maka (Pvt) Limited, says it is looking at deploying its technology in Africa, as the group seeks to expand its market across the continent.

Innocent Sibanda, the chief executive officer of Maka, which is the second company in Africa to manufacture irrigation centre pivots, told delegates at the tour of the company’s manufacturing plant in Ruwa on Friday that this will be a key development in the region as a measure to deal with climate change phenomenon and will also boost export earnings for Zimbabwe.

“It’s an interesting story,” Sibanda said adding that “We believe our irrigation technology is not only a Zimbabwean solution but we are bringing a solution for Africa. We are doing 100 hectares of drip irrigation in Mozambique and we are now prepared to go for the whole of Africa with our solution.”

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister, Sibusiso Moyo, in a speech read on his behalf said: “The new kid on the block (Maka) has ventured into unchartered waters because it’s the first to manufacture pivot centres in Zimbabwe. A continental free trade area is upon us and it can be a boom for those who are ready for it. If we don’t have capacity (as Zimbabwe), we will be workers for this block (Africa). It is therefore important for us (government) to create capacity for our industries.”

Zimbabwe is endowed with water bodies enough to sustain a robust irrigation-fed agricultural system. But, due to lack of infrastructure, the country is enduring net importation of grain.

Maka has hit the jackpot, partnering government to set new irrigation infrastructure and rehabilitate the existing ones under the Special Irrigation Programme.

Currently, Maka has an order book to develop 100 000 hectares of irrigation schemes countrywide in the next three years.

Of the 100 000 hectares, 20 000 hectares will cover communal land while 80 000 hectares will be put under A1 and A2 land.

This is part of efforts to shift from over reliance on rain-fed agriculture.

The development comes when Zimbabwe is under threat from food insecurity due to consistent droughts over the past years.

Industry and Commerce permanent secretary Mavis Sibanda also spoke at the tour saying: “It’s in line with government import substitution policy and increase agricultural production.

She added: “This investment is going to impact the manufacturing industry. Currently, manufacturers get 60% of their raw material from agricultural sector.”

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