103 combine harvesters received from Belarus Engineer Harrison Bhasikoro

Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief

ZIMBABWE has to date received 103 combine harvesters under the Belarus Farm Mechanisation Scheme phase 1 and 2 and John Deere facility, which have been distributed to individual farmers and Government departments to ensure smooth winter wheat harvesting. This adds to about 260 combine harvesters the country has and would assist farmers in winter wheat harvesting that is expected to  start mid next month.

The Government is upbeat the country will meet its national wheat requirements for the first time in many years after surpassing its wheat hectarage target for this year.

After a record 80 000 hectares were put under wheat this season, Government is confident enough will be harvested to meet national requirements. The country had set a national target of 75 000 hectares for wheat this season but managed to surpass it by more than 5 000 hectares after different intervention measures by stakeholders.

In an interview, deputy director for Agricultural Engineering and Mechanisation in the Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Ministry, Engineer Harrison Bhasikoro, said they were optimistic that winter harvesting will be completed on time. “Under Belarus phase 1 we received 60 combine harvesters and they have been distributed to farmers. Under Belarus phase 2 we are expecting 16 combine harvesters and so far, we have taken delivery of eight and we expected the remainder at the end of next month,” he said in an interview. 

Eng Bhasikoro said under the John Deere facility Government was expecting to receive 80 combine harvesters and so far 35 have been delivered. “We have so far received a total of 103 combine harvesters to assist farmers in harvesting the winter wheat,” he said.

Eng Bhasikoro said 47 combine harvesters were allocated to AFC Leasing Company, which has formed 22 cluster centres throughout the country where the equipment is stationed. “The balance of the equipment was distributed to other Government institutions such as Arda, ZPCS and individual farmers. The equipment distributed to Government departments is available for hiring,” he said.

Eng Bhasikoro said there will be enough combine harvesters to meet demand for wheat harvesting this season. “Farmers can start making bookings for accessing the combine harvesters and if they have challenges, they should not hesitate to contact the ministry so that they are assisted to access the combine harvesters on time,” said Eng Bhasikoro.

AFC Company

He said the Government has also entered into farm mechanisation development alliances with private players who will complement the existing fleet to ensure smooth wheat harvesting.

Government is targeting to increase its fleet of 260 combine harvesters to 300 by the end of the year.

“According to our inventory the country is sitting at 260 functioning combine harvesters and we hope before the end of the year we will have 300 combine harvesters as we seek to build our fleet,” said Eng Bhasikoro.  Zimbabwe requires about 400 000 tonnes of wheat per annum.

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