The Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) has expressed concern over delays in the distribution of tractors to farmers, which were procured by the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement from Belarus, meant to revolutionise Zimbabwe’s agriculture industry.
The tractors are part of the US$58m deal signed between Zimbabwe and Belarus in 2018.
The first batch of modern farm machinery, including 20-grain harvesters for grain and maize, 100 tractors, and 52 seed drills was shipped in early 2020 but the equipment is yet to be distributed.
Davis Marapira, the minister of State in the Office of the President and Cabinet in charge of monitoring and implementation of special agriculture-related programmes, last week expressed disquiet over the delay in distributing the tractors.
“Our main concern is the timeframe when these tractors are going to be distributed. The season for the 2021/22 season has already started.
The planting for those who will be using irrigation is starting
on 15 September in terms of maize production, therefore, the tractors should be distributed as soon as possible,” Marapira said.
He added: ‘’The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the bankers are finalising one or two things, [including] the pricing aspect.
We are going to push them so that at least by the end of August all these tractors will be distributed to the farmers.”
Analysts said timely distribution of tractors would help the farmers to work efficiently so that they boost their productivity.
The tractors are going to be given as a loan to the farmers.
This means only those who demonstrate the capacity to pay will get the tractors.