South African companies have expressed interest in investing in Zimbabwe’s agriculture sector, Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Dr Joseph Made has said. He said the companies were willing to invest in crop production through contracts and partnerships.
“I am satisfied with the level of enquiries from South Africa relating to that country wanting to invest in crop production in Zimbabwe,” said Dr Made in an interview on Thursday.
“This means the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development and the Ministers of Land and Rural Resettlement and officials from the two ministries will be working together to examine the proposed contracts to protect both the investor and the farmer.”
Dr Made said it was important that farmers consulted the two ministries before getting into contracts for them not to be taken advantage of by the companies.
“Farmers should develop proper relations with full knowledge,” he said. “We should also protect the investor and the details of the deals should be documented properly. We want to know the extent of the deals and roles of each party.”
Dr Made said some enquiries were also coming from people from outside Africa.
Recently, a Chinese firm, China CAMC announced plans to revive operations at Arda Mushumbi Pools Estate in Mashonaland Central by investing $200 million to develop irrigation over the next five years.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe and Togo have exchanged drafts of a Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the field of agriculture.
The MoU was exchanged between Dr Made and Togo Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Hydrology, Mr Ouro Kuora Agadazi.
Dr Made said the MoU was aimed at strengthening cooperation in agricultural mechanisation and irrigation development, livestock and crop husbandry.
“Preparations are underway for the technical team to come from Togo; experts in the field of mechanisation and irrigation development and livestock and crop breeding. These are competent authorities,” said Dr Made.
Other areas of cooperation between the two countries include protection and production of plant and animal genetic material, conservation of indigenous plant and animal material, research collaboration and development of food security and aspects of agricultural products, strengthening capacity building on animal and plant health matters and increased bilateral trade.
Zimbabwe has entered into several partnerships with different companies and this has seen the Arda reviving its operations with over 50 percent of its estates now fully functional.