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September 25, 2008

Zimbabwe acquires equipment for farm mechanization programme

Zimbabwe's government has launched the fourth phase of its Farm Mechanisation Programme.

Tractors, combine harvesters, disc harrows, ploughs, generators, motorbikes, grinding mills, planters, fertilizer spreaders and knapsacks, among other implements, were released to the committee in charge, which has already targeted at least 500 000 hectares countrywide for food production in the 2008/09 summer cropping season.

Equipment distributed to date included 3 000 tractors, 105 combine harvesters, 1 733 disc harrows, 100 000 ploughs, 78 000 scotchcarts, 200 000 chains and 2 000 planters.

Equipment handed over to the strategic food programme included 20 combine harvesters, 100 tractors, 400 generators, 750 motorbikes, 7 000 scotchcarts, 4 000 animal-drawn harrows, 50 fertilizer spreaders and 150 grinding mills.

Mechanization minister Joseph Made said the Farm Mechanisation Programme was meant to replace obsolete equipment on farms while providing machinery to those farmers that were inadequately capacitated.

"In terms of sheer numbers, there is no way we would have moved agriculture because previously (before land reform) only 10 percent to 15 percent of arable land was being used.’’

Dr Made stressed the importance of early planting to ensure higher yields. At least 55 percent of the land would need to be planted early, with the balance coming onto the middle phase.

"The planting period to get good yields is now," he said.

The Herald

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