The Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (Arda) is identifying farmers throughout the country with irrigable land to be linked with investors who will provide financial assistance to produce certain crops as part of efforts to increase production, an official said on Wednesday. Arda board chairperson, Basil Nyabadza told New Ziana the authority had since launched the programme in Sanyati, Mashonaland West province, on Wednesday and would be inviting farmers from other parts of the country to join the scheme.
“As we speak, we’re coming from Sanyati where we were inviting farmers with irrigable land and domestic investors to be part of the joint venture and we’ll also visit other parts of the country,” he said.
Nyabadza said the authority had put together a team that would be moving around the country to spearhead the programme. “As Arda we’ve tasked a team that’ll be moving around the country extracting value from the land and under the first phase of the programme, the authority is targeting 25,000 hectares of irrigable land starting with the 2016 winter wheat cropping season,” said Nyabadza
He said the programme would benefit all the parties as it was meant to increase crop production, meaning greater returns for farmers. “The farmers will partner Arda under a sound business model endorsed by our principals, while the investors will partner Arda under a sound business model to attain a win-win position.”
“The initiative will see identified investors buy back the entire produce for value addition, under the tolling facility business model,” he said. Nyabadza said farmers with irrigable land should approach Arda offices countrywide so that they could benefit from the programme.
He said crops to be produced under the programme included maize, soya beans and wheat. — New Ziana.