HARARE – The world’s largest tractor manufacturer, Mahindra, has started bringing in the first batch of the 3000 tractors into Zimbabwe as part of efforts to empower and mechanise small-scale farmers’ operations and increase productivity.
This comes at a time when the country is moving towards mechanising and improving small-scale farmers to help ramp up production as the country moves to retain its breadbasket status.
Agria managing director Joseph Shonhiwa told Business Times that the company had started bringing in tractors ahead of the 2018/2019 summer cropping season. Agria has the local Mahindra dealership.
“The company is targeting to bring in 3000 tractors in the next five years. Of that number around 30 tractors came last month to capacitate small scale farmers to increase production and realise profit on farms,” Shonhiwa said.
Zimbabwe’s tractor requirement is around 30 000 units and the country is not even at half of that in terms of tractor population.
The company’s thrust for the Zimbabwean market is for the farmers to be more profitable by having machinery efficiency.
He said Mahindra intends to invest in Zimbabwe but this will depend on the capacity of local partners, Willowvale Motor.
Mahindra opened a Durban tractor plant in South Africa two months ago and their next plant will be in Zimbabwe, depending on the readiness of their local partners.
Zimbabwe Farmers Union executive director Paul Zakariya said: “We are happy to note that Mahindra is moving towards capacitating small scale farmers to increase productivity. This small tractor (priced at $8 000) will be a game-changer in improving the operations of a small scale farmer and agriculture as a discipline.”