By Ndafadza Madanha
MECHANISATION and modernization of the country agriculture’s sector will help the country improve production and productivity.
In order to speed up the pace of mechanizing agriculture Government has set up facilities to help farmers acquire tractors, center pivots and other machinery.
Through the ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement and the Agriculture Finance Corporation (AFC) two facilities with the Belarus government (US$52m) and agriculture equipment manufacturer John Dee (US$50m) have been set up for the supply of agriculture equipment.
The equipment includes 1000 tractors, combine harvesters, and planters.
However, according to Deputy Minister of Land Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement, Vangelis Haritatos there is still scope for greater participation by private sector in mechanizing Zimbabwe agriculture.
He said agriculture was the backbone of the economy hence government determination to mechanize the sector.
“Agriculture mechanization and modernization remains a priority to improve agriculture production and productivity. Out of a total arable land of 4.31 million hectares, 1 million hectares are under animal power, another 500 000 hectares mirorised draught power and the balance of 2.8million hectares require mechanization.
Zimbabwe requires 40 000 tractors, 600 combine harvesters and assortment of other machinery. Of all these we have a deficit of over 31 000 tractors and 400 combine harvesters. To address some of these challenges we have implemented facilities with Belarus and John Deere.
If more private players can come on board we are happy and imagine if they can supply 10 000 tractors of the 33 000 we require then that supplier has a significant share of the market and this is a great opportunity”
Some of the incentives government is offering to potential investors include Build Own Operate and Transfer (BOOT) and BOT Arrangement which gives a tax holiday for first 5 years and is taxed at 15% for the second five years.
Other incentives include Manufacturing or Processing Companies , Special Initial allowance (SIA) allowed on expenditure incurred on construction of new industrial buildings, farm improvements, railway lines, staff housing and tobacco barns.