14 000 tractors for winter wheat

31 Mar, 2024 - 00:03 0 Views
14 000 tractors for winter wheat Prof Jiri

The Sunday Mail

Sunday Mail Reporter

THE Government has mobilised over 14 000 tractors and 300 combine harvesters to lease to wheat farmers during the forthcoming winter cropping season.

The equipment will be used for land preparation, transportation and harvesting.

Twenty-two mechanisation hubs, from where farmers can lease the machinery, have been established throughout the country under the Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) Leasing Company and collaborating agents.

Authorities plan to put 120 000 hectares (ha) under the cereal, a significant increase from the record 90 912ha planted last year.

Data from the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development shows that the CBZ (CBZ Agro-Yield) will contribute to production on 11 500ha, while AFC Bank will support production on 16 000ha.

NMB Bank will fund production on 2 500ha, while the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (Arda) will manage 45 000ha through its joint ventures.

The Food Crop Contractors Association has set a target of 25 000ha, while individual small-scale farmers are expected to cultivate at least 20 000ha. Planting is expected to commence on May 1. Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Permanent Secretary Professor Obert Jiri said the Government was expecting a smooth transition from summer to winter cropping this year.

“The Minister (Dr Anxious Masuka) announced the revised target for winter wheat production to 120 000ha,” he said.

“The country has 137 000ha irrigable area available for winter cropping and farmers are expected to plant from May 1, 2024.”

This year’s target, he said, calls for robust mechanisation to enhance production and productivity.

“The estimated number of tractors in the country is 14 285 with a capacity to cover more than one million hectares, hence timely land preparation is assured,” said Prof Jiri.

“The Government also formed a special purpose vehicle under AFC Holdings, namely AFC Leasing Company, for the provision of farm mechanisation services.

“The company was capacitated with more than 600 tractors, which are accessible by all farmers in Zimbabwe, and has formed 22 cluster centres across all provinces within the reach of all farmers.”

The Government, Prof Jiri added, capacitated its institutions such as the Rural Infrastructure Development Agency, Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service, Arda and the Institute of Agricultural Engineering with more than 500 tractors.

“To add on to that, there are also various private players who are involved in the provision of mechanisation services,” he said.

“The estimated number of combine harvesters in the country is more than 300, with a capacity to harvest close to 200 000 hectares per season.”

 

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