Mr Emmerson Mnangagwa, the President of Zimbabwe, on Wednesday commissioned the Belarus Mechanisation Facility worth over $58 million at the Institute of Agricultural Engineering in Hatcliffe, Harare.The function was attended by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, Ministers and the Belarus delegation led by the Minister of Industry for the Republic of Belarus.
The private sector and the representatives from the financial sector are also present.The facility being commissioned is part of the deals struck by President Mnangagwa, during his tenure as Vice President in 2015 and as President in January 2019. The equipment, which is the first tranch include 163 tractors, 19 combine harvesters and low bed trucks.
Zimbabwe and Belarus also agreed on another deal last night that will see Zimbabwe getting another tranch of 3000 tractors.As a result of the tight cooperation between Belarus and Zimbabwe in 2018, both governments agreed upon the supply to Zimbabwe machinery and equipment made in Belarus for agriculture and timber industry.
In June 2020, Zimbabwe’s Honorary Consul to Belarus, Alexander Zingman, the $58 million deal between the two countries will revolutionalise Zimbabwe’s agriculture industry.“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 Alexander Zingman at the time.
Mnangagwa had called for a comprehensive project to modernise and mechanise the entire agricultural sector. The country 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.
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.AFTRADE DMCC represents all the leading manufacturers in Belarus. It 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.
Belarusian technical specialists were sent to Zimbabwe for one year to provide training to farmers in modern farming techniques. Zimbabwean specialists also got 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. 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,” said Zingman.
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.