By Ndafadza Madanha
GOVERNMENT through the ministry o f Land, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement has acquired 19 centre pivots to be distributed to qualifying farmers as part of efforts to reduce the country’s vulnerability to drought owing to limited irrigation infrastructure facilities in the country.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture Douglas Karoro, who yesterday toured Pedstock facility to access the pivots, said deserving farmers would access the equipment on a cost recovery arrangement.
He said the programme was on-going and more centre pivots are expected in the near future which will boost production across the country’s vast arable and under- utilized tracts of land, drawing from several dams whose waters remain idle.
“I went to Hatcliffe to see for myself the state of affairs at the Pedstock facility where the centre pivots are stored. In stock there are nineteen 40 hectare centre pivots awaiting delivery to farmers. We have a few logistical issues delaying their dispatch. The 19 centre pivots can irrigate a total of 760ha. So we cannot afford to keep them any longer because farmers are waiting for them.
The farmers will get the centre pivots on cost recovery arrangement. A recipient farmer is expected to make a 10% upfront payment. Each unit is valued at $60 000. The balance is payable over a period of not more than five years”.
Currently the country has 210 000 hectares of developed irrigation of which 175 000 hectares are operational. The existing irrigation master plan targets support for the eventual rehabilitation and establishment of irrigation facilities to cover 2.5 million hectares.
Already under Phase 1 of the $6 million Reserve Bank facility 80 centre pivots were acquired from Spain and government provided $500 000 for their installation.
Of the installed centre pivots 68 pivots commanding 2 680 hectares are now operational.
Under phase 2 of the facility the Reserve Bank will secure another 80 centre pivots to be distributed to deserving farmers.