$250m for irrigation schemes

Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
Government recently secured a $250 million agricultural mechanisation loan facility from three countries that should ensure food security in the face of frequent droughts caused by climate change.President Mugabe is expected to launch the mechanisation programme soon, which would be driven by the loans from Brazil, India and South Korea for both smallholder and large-scale farmers.

Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Joseph Made said last week that Government secured $90 million from Brazil, $60 million from India Eximbank and about $100 million from South Korea.

Minister Made said this during a Senate Thematic committee on Peace and Security chaired by Senator Damien Mumvuri which wanted an update on food security.

On the Brazilian facility, Minister Made said $38 million worth of equipment was already in the country and would benefit 64 projects in all the eight rural provinces proportionately.

“It’s (the Brazilian facility) for smallholder farmers,” he said. “It is not going to be given to individuals, but to specific irrigation schemes like Mushandike in Masvingo. There will be eight projects on an equal basis in all the eight rural provinces.

“The projects have already been identified. All the machinery relating to pumps, disc harrows, and others were manufactured according to specifications.”

On the Indian facility, Minister Made said it would be exclusive to A2 model farmers.

“The facility is expected to have $20 million related to equipment and $40 million related to A2 model irrigation,” he said. “You can see the bias that we have on irrigation.”

On the South Korean facility, Minister Made said it was meant to rehabilitate irrigation projects, most of which had gone dysfunctional. The loan will come in tranches of $10 million worth of equipment for A2 farmers.