Leroy Dzenga Herald Correspondent
Government will distribute at least 100 000 tractors to female farmers across Zimbabwe through a flexible loan facility, Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development Minister Nyasha Chikwinya has said.
Addressing businesswomen leaders in Masvingo last Friday, Minister Chikwinya said the mechanisation of women-led agribusinesses was already in motion.
“We are expecting to distribute 100 000 tractors among women over the next three years so that food production in the country becomes more efficient,” she said.
Minister Chikwinya said 69 percent of Zimbabwean farmers are women.
“Looking at these figures we saw it fit that we avail enabling machinery to the women,” she said.
The tractors will be rolled out through a six-year loan facility.
“Farmers who are interested are expected to pay $2 000 deposit and pay the balance over six years. Over the years, women in agriculture have faced problems in accessing capital to acquire critical assets needed in farming and this is the solution we have brought,” she said.
Minister Chikwinya said Government will roll out the distribution next month.
The programme is backed by a resolution made at the African Union this year.
The mechanisation drive is also expected to satisfy goals set in the country’s economic blueprint, Zim-Asset’s Food Security and Nutrition Cluster.
“Currently, I am the first vice chair for the African Union arm that deals in Sustainable Development Goals and we resolved that women need to have machinery to aid them in food production. So these tractors are Zimbabwe’s first step towards ensuring that the resolution is met,” Minister Chikwinya said.
She said part of the consignment will be assembled locally.
“Some of the tractors will be assembled locally, the parts will be shipped to Zimbabwe and then they are pieced together here. This will create opportunities for Zimbabwean youths and women.
“The remaining units will be supplied by our friends who are helping us on this project these include Brazil and India,” said Minister Chikwinya.
Beneficiaries, she said, will be eligible to apply for the loan through the Ministry and the Women’s Bank in due course.
“Women have been affected by the workload and burden in food production yet they have challenges accessing user friendly machinery,” she said.