GOVERNMENT on Saturday received 30 tractors that are part of the US$50 million deal it signed with global tractor manufacturer, John Deere, in November 2018.
The deal — which will see John Deere supplying 1 300 tractors, 80 combine harvesters and other related agricultural equipment — was cemented following President Mnangagwa’s engagement with John Deere Agriculture Worldwide president Mr Mark von Pentz who expressed his willingness to partner the Government in boosting the agriculture sector through mechanisation.
The tractors were shipped from Germany to Zimbabwe via Durban, South Africa.
President Mnangagwa’s historic meeting with Mr Pentz culminated in negotiations paving way for John Deere to re-enter the Zimbabwean market after a 20-year absence.
The deal has long been touted as a milestone to farm mechanisation in Zimbabwe, with a private financier CBZ Bank being identified by Government to ensure its sustainability.
John Deere local representative Mr Graeme Smith said his company was committed to working with the Zimbabwe Government to ensure food security through the provision of farm equipment.
“More equipment is on its way and will be assembled at the Institute of Agriculture Engineering where training will be conducted to prospective farmers,” he said.
The country requires 40 000 tractors, but only has 12 000 of which 9 000 are functional, while 3 000 require repairs. This deficit of farm machinery and implements has been affecting agricultural production and productivity, hence Government’s intervention.
Under the John Deere deal, the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement will assist in the selection and training of beneficiaries.
The arrival of the equipment is a boost to the country’s agriculture sector, with Vice President Constantino Chiwenga having declared during the 2020 winter wheat programme launch last week that Government would do everything within its means to eliminate food shortages permanently.