ZIMBABWE – Zimbabwe is set to receive the first batch of agriculture equipment from Belarus, procured under an inter-governmental agreement worth US$58m, aimed at revolutionising Zimbabwe’s agriculture industry.

The Embassy of the Republic of Belarus in South Africa said in a statement that the first batch of modern farm machinery has been shipped to Harare, including 20 grain harvesters for grain and maize, 100 tractors, and 52 seed drills, with the second batch expected by December.

The agriculture deal was signed in 2018, with Belarus providing farming machinery and advanced technology to Zimbabwe, as well as training for local farmers in cultivation, seeding, irrigation, and crop harvesting.

It also provided the project with long-term financing for the acquisition of equipment.

“This deal brings Belarusian expertise in agriculture and engineering to Zimbabwe. Both countries have been expanding ties since 2015 and this deal is a win-win for both,” said Zimbabwe’s Honorary Consul to Belarus Alexander Zingman.

Zimbabwe is reeling from the economic effects of coronavirus, a disastrous drought and Cyclone Idai last year, leaving over 5 million people in need of food aid.

Belarusian technical specialists have been sent to Zimbabwe for one year to provide training to farmers in modern farming techniques. Zimbabwean specialists will on the other hand get two months training in Belarus.

“This project will enable Zimbabwean farmers to boost the productivity of their land and to reduce their losses through timely crops harvesting,” said Zingman

“The result will be that farmers can ensure the food security of Zimbabwe itself and where possible, also raise their income levels by exporting their produce,” he added.

AFTRADE DMC, the official representative of all the leading equipment manufacturers in Belarus has set up a servicing centre in Harare to provide spare parts and warranty services.

Mobile service vehicles will also cater to farming communities in the provinces.

Belarus and Zimbabwe are complementary in many ways when it comes to trade. Belarus provides sophisticated technology and investment, which Zimbabwe can use to boost its economy and productivity.

Bilateral trade was over US$30 million for the past 3 years. For the first four months of 2020, trade between Belarus and Zimbabwe has already exceeded US$7 million.

The two countries are also developing joint projects in geology, farming and transport, as well as the construction of a solar power plant near Harare.

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