Joseph Madzimure

Senior Reporter

A leading Belarusian company with expertise in agricultural machinery is set to open shop in Zimbabwe to offer backup services for tractors and combine harvesters as President Mnangagwa’s mantra that “Zimbabwe is open for business” continues to gain traction.

The establishment of the company, which will come with a training centre to equip farmers with technical skills, comes at a time when the Second Republic has invested more than US$100 million in farm mechanisation so as to climate-proof the country against weather vagaries.

Bison Agro Machinery, which is part of AFTRADE group of companies, said it is committed to investing in Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector through supporting the farm mechanisation programmes.

AFTRADE representative and Honorary Consul of Zimbabwe to Belarus, Mr Aleksandra Zingman, said the setting up of the company highlights the New Dispensation’s desire to modernise and revitalise the agricultural sector.

“The investment highlights Zimbabwe’s desire to modernise and revitalise the country’s agricultural industry. Bison Agro Machinery is capitalising on Zimbabwe’s talented work force by hiring and training Zimbabweans, and bringing more jobs into the Zimbabwean market in the months and years to come” said Mr Zingman.

Speaking during a tour of the company’s training centre in Harare recently, which is designed to train Zimbabweans to fill positions specialising in tractor maintenance and repairs ranging from mechanics to other roles, Mr Zingman said the company has its own warehouse that can service more than 8 000 different types of equipment.

The qualified service department of the company consists of 25 local Zimbabwean highly-qualified specialists who are able to respond to any request from consumers of equipment within 24 hours. He said there will be a number of mobile teams that will undertake repairs in the rural regions.

Belarusian technical specialists were sent to Zimbabwe for a year to provide training to farmers in modern farming techniques. They received two-months training in Belarus.

“The result will be that farmers can ensure Zimbabwe’s food security itself and, where possible, raise their income levels by exporting their produce,” said Mr Zingman.

The two countries are developing joint projects in geology, farming and transport, as well as the construction of a solar power plant near Harare.

Apart from agriculture equipment, the company will service buses, combine harvesters and tractors among other equipment sourced from Belarus. Bison Agro Machinery is the official representative of leading Belarusian manufacturers of agricultural machinery, vehicles, and buses.

President Mnangagwa recently commissioned the Belarus Mechanisation Facility worth over US$58 million at the Institute of Agricultural Engineering in Hatcliffe, Harare. The facility is part of the deals struck by President Mnangagwa, during his tenure as Vice President in 2015 and as President in January 2019. The equipment, which is the first tranche include 163 tractors, 19 combine harvesters and low bed trucks.

Zimbabwe and Belarus agreed on another deal that will see the former getting 3 000 tractors.

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