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Zimbabwe to Modernise Agriculture with Investment from Belarus

HARARE, (The Southern African Times) – After five years of negotiations, Zimbabwe now gets its US$58 million farm mechanization facility from Belarus, while another deal worth US$100 million will be signed by year-end, according reports from the Zimbabwe’s presidency in Harare.

Belarusian Minister of Industry, Piotr Parhomchik, accompanied by the Honorary Consul of Zimbabwe to Belarus, Aleksandr Zingman; Belarusian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Alexander Sidoruk; president and Chief Executive of the Eastern and Southern Africa Trade and Development Bank, Admassu Tadesse and Chairman of Development Bank of Belarus chairman, Andrei Zhishkevich held a working meeting with President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Zimbabwe and Belarus have agreed on assembling 3000 tractors, agreed on the supply to Zimbabwe different kinds of machinery and equipment made in Belarus for agriculture and timber industry. Both have further agreed to establish a mechanization program for the farming and timber industries. It provides for over 800 units of equipment to be delivered in two batches. These include among others: 60 self-propelled grain harvesters, 210 precision seed drills, 474 tractors of different power capacities, fifth wheel trucks with semi-trailers for transportation of heavy equipment and four dump trucks.

The agreement makes provision for other equipment such as six semi-trailers with hydraulic manipulator for transportation of construction machinery, 10 drop-side trucks, firefighting equipment critical in forest business, cities and other communities and emergency rescue operations. The equipment also includes 30 motorcycles and a complete set of spare parts for every type of machinery and equipment delivered.

Zimbabwe has been looking foreign partners from other countries to transfer technology and industrialize its ailing economy. The report said that the Government launched a similar facility from a US company, John Deere, in June this year estimated at US$50 million intended to boost agricultural production. Negotiations are also underway with Chinese manufacturers to set up bus assembling plants locally after Government recently procured buses from the Asian country.

Zimbabwe and Belarus officials noted that the unique relationship would help in technical skills transfer and transform agricultural sector in Zimbabwe. “The implementation of the project involves an approach that includes not only full responsibility regarding warranty and service support, provision of spare parts, training of local specialists, but also providing advanced technologies, comprehensive decisions and solutions in agriculture for every agricultural period from cultivation, seeding, irrigation, planting to crop harvesting,” said the Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Agriculture.

In addition to the statement of Ministry of Agriculture, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister, Sibusiso Moyo said the Belarus cooperation deal and the recently commissioned John Deere project for the supply of agriculture mechanization equipment were a culmination of the re-engagement policy of President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

“The principle for re-engagement and engagement is open to all the countries in the world and remember we have said we want to cooperate in business with everyone for the benefit of our people. President Mnangagwa’s thrust at his inauguration was that Zimbabwe was open for business. The fruits of this policy is what we witness today. What we witnessed two months ago with the John Deere project is what we have witnessed today with the Belarusian project of mechanization,” according to Moyo.

As Modern Diplomacy reported in July 2015, Emmerson Mnangagwa paid official working visit to Minsk. The visit helps break barriers that have impeded progress in its economic diplomacy and to seek an increased business cooperation with Belarus, an ex-Soviet republic and a member of the newly created Eurasian Economic Union. The member-states of the Eurasian Economic Union are Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia.

Zimbabwe is a landlocked country in southern Africa. Mineral exports, gold, agriculture, and tourism are the main foreign currency earners of this country. The mining sector remains very lucrative. Its commercial farming sector is traditionally another source of exports and foreign exchange. In the southern African region, it is the biggest trading partner of South Africa. Zimbabwe is one of the members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

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