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September 26, 2011

Chinese built agricultural demonstration center in Zimbabwe almost complete

During an Africa-China summit in 2006, China pledged to assist African countries to build 10 pilot agricultural technology centers across the continent over the following three years. That initial number was then increased to 14, then to 20.

The training center in Zimbabwe was begun in October 2009 and is now almost complete. It is on a leading pre-existing agricultural college, Gwebi, located 27 km out of capital city Harare. The new center covers an area of approximately 109 hectares, and includes a demonstration field of 80 ha. The first crops are expected to be planted in October, just before the onset of Zimbabwe's rain season. The crops to be planted include the maize, wheat, soya beans and potatoes.

Xinhua news agency reports that the center will target training middle and small scale farmers, farm managers, agricultural specialists and agro- students, among others, and will open with an initial enrollment of 120 persons per year.

According to Du Yongqi, the project manager, demonstration of the use of low- cost irrigation systems suitable for small-scale farmers will be among subject areas to be covered.

The center, which will be supported by Chinese grants in the first three years, will be transferred to the Zimbabwe government after 15 years of operation. During this period the Chinese will run the center with the support of Zimbabwean experts.

African Agriculture

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