Zimbabwe to reap huge agronomy benefits from Belarus ties: ED President Mnangagwa and his Belarus counterpart Alexander Lukashenko in Victoria Falls recently

Mashudu Netsianda in Victoria Falls

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has said Zimbabwe and Belarus’ relations will continue to be strengthened with the country expected to benefit tremendously from the Eastern Europe country’s highly mechanised agriculture sector.

This comes as the Second Republic has made food security a top priority and is working towards a US$8,2 billion agriculture industry economy, contributing 20 percent of GDP by 2025, underpinned by the country’s National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) — the driver towards Vision 2030 to make Zimbabwe an upper middle-income economy.

Speaking soon after seeing off his Belarus counterpart, Alexander Lukashenko at the Victoria Falls International Airport yesterday, President Mnangagwa said the country is set to benefit from the expertise in terms of equipment and agronomy from Belarus.

President Lukashenko was in the country on a three-day historic visit, which ended yesterday when he visited the country’s prime tourism city.

Zimbabwe and Belarus on Tuesday signed eight bilateral agreements in the areas of education, agriculture and economic co-operation at a ceremony that was presided over by  Presidents Mnangagwa and Lukashenko at State House.

Immediately after the signing of the agreements, the two leaders proceeded to launch the Second Phase of the Farm Mechanisation Programme at the Ministry of Agriculture Institute, where Zimbabwe took delivery of an additional 1 300 tractors, 14 combine harvesters and disc harrows.

“I visited Belarus in 2015 when I was sent by my previous boss the late President Mugabe and that is how we began this relationship. In 2019 when I became President I visited and we started this kind of friendship, but thereafter there was Covid-19 which stopped him from coming here,” said President Mnangagwa.

President Mnangagwa and his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko shake hands at the signing of eight bilateral agreements at State House in Harare.

‘‘We cancelled twice (the visit) because of the prevalence of the pandemic. Now that the pandemic has gone down that is why he has come.

We would want to develop very close relations with Belarus especially in agriculture because they are very advanced and highly mechanised in their agriculture.’

The President said through Belarus’s advanced engineering, Zimbabwe is set to benefit in terms of agriculture.

He said through the cooperation, Zimbabwe intends to access the type of technology which is in Belarus.

‘I think we can get a lot of expertise both in terms of equipment and agronomy from Belarus. The second issue is that they are also very advanced in engineering. When it was USSR, their engineering state was Belarus and when it broke all that equipment, machinery and factories remained in Belarus, so again they are very advanced in that area and we need to also cooperate in that area,’ said President Mnangagwa.

Some of the 1 300 tractors delivered for the Second Phase of the Farm Mechanisation Programme at the Ministry of Agriculture Institute in Harare

‘Therefore, we also, in our agreements as signed cooperation in science and technology because we want to access that type of technology which is the most modern in the world.’

President Mnangagwa credited Belarus mechanisation support it gave to Zimbabwe for this season’s bumper wheat harvest.

The first phase saw 474 tractors, 60 combine harvesters, 210 planters and 5 lowbed trucks being delivered to the country and distributed to farmers through the Land Bank and CBZ.

President Mnangagwa said co-operation between Zimbabwe and Belarus was mutually beneficial and was yielding good results for the people of the two countries.

CBZ Holdings

The eight agreements signed include the establishment of a Joint Permanent Commission and a Memorandum of Understanding Concerning Mutual Recognition of Educational Qualifications. Other agreements signed include the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments, an Agreement for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income and Property.

A Twinning Agreement between Harare and Minsk, the capital city of Belarus, was also signed along with a contract between the Government of Zimbabwe, represented by the Minister Lands, Agriculture Water and Rural Resettlement, Dr Anxious Masuka, on co-operation in the supply of tractors and grain harvesting equipment.

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