Government receives $6m irrigation equipment

Former Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa

HARARE – Government has received 80 centre pivots worth over $6 million from Spain to aid irrigation under Command Agriculture, Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa said.

VP Mnangagwa said the centre pivots were coming at a time when Government was moving to adopt new technologies and strengthen infrastructural development in support of the successful import-substitution programme.

In his address during the Midlands Show Society Exhibitors reception, which was also attended by the Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Huang Ping in Gweru on Friday, VP Mnangagwa said Government was targeting 300 000 hectares of land under irrigation.

Recently, Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Dr Joseph Made said negotiations were under way for another facility worth $60 million for bigger equipment from the same country.

“At the moment, we have 170 000 hectares of land under irrigation in the country and Government is targeting 300 000 hectares,” said VP Mnangagwa. “If we can produce a tonne per hectare we will be able to produce about 2,2 million tonnes of maize.

“Our national consumption is 1,6 million tonnes per year. We received 80 centre pivots last month under first phase which we will give to our farmers. Such equipment for irrigation is being supported through relations we have with China, Russia, India, Spain and Belarus.

“We believe that in the next three years, we would be able to reach the target because we want to have a situation where we have enough land under irrigation so that sustainability of the needs of food security for the country are achieved.

“GMB silos are already full and we have not even reached half of the grain that was harvested by farmers.”

The VP added that there are still more farmers waiting to deliver their maize to GMB.

“This model will be spread to other areas like cotton and we have put forward a three-year scheme where we are giving free cotton inputs. This year, cotton yield is five times more than what we produced last year and we believe next year will surpass what we produced this year.”

VP Mnangagwa said food security will be achieved as Command Agriculture had been complimented by over 800 000 hectares of land which is covered by the President Input Support Scheme.

“When we realised the success of Command Agriculture, we extended it to fish where we introduced command fisheries, launched by President Mugabe on May 19 at Tokwe Mukosi in Masvingo,” he said.

VP Mnangagwa said there was high demand for road runners in China — the market he said locals could tap into considering the good relations which existed between Beijing and Harare.

He said ever since the Special Economic Zones Act was signed into law the country received a number of enquiries from potential investors.

The Midlands Show Society, which was running under the theme, “Wealth through value addition” ended yesterday on a high note, with 165 exhibitors having turned up. – Herald