Farmers have responded overwhelmingly to the John Deere Mechanisation facility, with 54 of the 60 tractors availed so far being taken up.
President Mnangagwa last year launched the US$51 million John Deere Mechanisation facility, which is expected to transform the agriculture sector and ensure the industry becomes a pathway out of poverty and a pre-condition for economic growth and prosperity.
The facility will unlock 1 300 tractors, 80 combine harvesters, 600 planters, 200 disc harrows, 100 boom sprayers and 100 trailers, which will enable farmers to boost productivity.
The tractors will be used mainly by 5 000 farmers under the National Agriculture Recovery Plan.
CBZ managing director, Mr Peter Zimunya, whose bank is assessing the creditworthiness of farmers, confirmed the huge interest in the facility.
“Out of the 60 units that were availed by Government so far, we have successfully processed all the units. Fifty-four farmers have already collected their tractors while the remaining six are undergoing our credit assessment or awaiting payments of the requisite deposits and collections.
“Performance has been good so far with farmers undertaking their intended programmes and their crops looking very good.
“We do not anticipate to have any defaulters. The programme kicked-off in earnest with the current summer crop. Repayments are therefore expected from the standing crop. The crops at the farmers who received the tractors are in excellent condition and we project that repayment will be achieved,” he said.
The deal with the global tractor manufacturer was entered into in November 2018 following President Mnangagwa’s engagement with John Deere Agriculture Worldwide president Mr Mark von Pentz, who expressed willingness to partner the Government in boosting the agriculture sector through mechanisation.
Government has prioritised mechanisation to boost productivity, with another equipment facility from Belarus available to farmers.
Other elements of the Agriculture Recovery Plan in which progress has been recorded are irrigation development; capacitating of extension services delivery; value chain financing; and promotion of sesame seed production for export.