THE Mechanisation Development Alliance is banking on the innovativeness of the University innovation hubs to come up mechanised implements that can help modernise the operations of smallholder farmers, as the Government pushes for rural agricultural transformation.
“The Government is supporting the national reverse engineering of agricultural implements through provision of equipment to support local manufactures by partnering with local universities, army engineers and the Institute of Agriculture Engineering (IAE)”, chief director for Mechanisation in Mechanisation Department, Engineer Edwin Zimunga said recently.
The Mechanisation Development Alliance is an all-stakeholder group of mechanisation value chain actors, manufacturers, dealers, academia, Government Ministries and departments that provides a platform for discussions on issues that are technical, policy, commercial quality and standards, innovation, research and development.
Eng Zimunga added: “The aim is to adopt a value chain approach to grow the mechanisation portfolio and associated value chain actors to promote local manufacturing of technologies not previously available in the country.”
The gap between smallholder farmers and the much-needed technical know-how is being mitigated by the new training curriculum in line with agriculture education 8, 0 from the previous 2, 0.
Furthermore, to complement the efforts of local manufacturers the Government extended a US$5 million facility for the procurement of 600 two wheeler tractors and an assortment of implements aimed at mechanising small-scale farming operations.
Addressing delegates and chief executive officers at this year’s Agribusiness conference the Minster of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Dr Anxious Masuka stressed on the need to do away with the hoe and archaic farming implements and pave the way for improved rural farming systems to boost production.
“We need to retire the hoe to the museum, as we modernise the agriculture sector therefore for this year’s Pfumvudza programme, the mechanisation department will be mainstreaming the use of auger ploughs as a way of leveraging climate smart agricultural mechanisation technologies,” said Dr Masuka.
Mechanising the agriculture sector is crucial to enable it to perform effectively and set the economy on a positive growth and recovery path through realisation of a potential gross domestic product (GDP) of 33 percent from its current 20 percent GDP contribution, as the Government pushes for the attainment of food self-sufficiency.
The Government is on record for urging farmers to adopt a modern business approach to their farming operations. It is important for practices such as hiring of equipment using money generated from farming to be internalised by farmers and develop their farms for increased production.