Fungai Lupande Mashonaland Central Bureau
THE Government has engaged Maka Resources (Pvt) Limited, a local manufacturing company, to revamp and resuscitate 100 000 hectares of irrigation schemes, with priority being given to A1 and communal farmers.
Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister Perrance Shiri said 20 000 hectares were earmarked for A1 and communal farmers, while the remaining 80 000 hectares were for A2 farmers. While the programme is free for A1 and communal farmers, A2 farmers will have to pay.
“We have areas like Mazowe and Matepatepa with abundant water bodies and in some of the farms there is irrigation infrastructure which might be missing a few components,” said Minister Shiri.
“Farmers must work closely with extension officers to identify what is needed to revamp and resuscitate irrigation at their farms. You will be advised soon of the banks to which you can apply for the programme. We have water, but we are failing to do irrigation and ending up importing wheat. Enter into a joint venture to boost production, the Government will never let anyone take away your farms when you have an offer letter.
“Bring your joint venture contracts to the Ministry of Agriculture to have it scrutinised and assessed for fairness.”
The Government has embarked on a massive drive to mechanise farms and Minister Shiri said 140 combine harvesters had been bought and were on their way into the country.
“Tractors came and we gave them to CBZ and Stanbic for distribution,” he said. “140 combine harvesters are coming and they will be under Agribank. Sixteen of them will be sold, with each province getting two.”
“Agribank will be using the combine harvesters to harvest for farmers. If you are clever, create syndicates and contribute money then approach the bank with a deposit to purchase the combine harvesters.”
Minister Shiri said A2 farmers were like companies or business units.
He urged farmers to organise themselves, form syndicates and associations to start various business ventures.
“When you go to countries like South Africa, farmers own businesses, hotels, properties, trucks and service stations,” said Minister Shiri.
“Invest your money. Put your resources together to buy properties and farm machinery like combine harvesters, trucks. This will help you to earn extra income and create employment.”