Arda courts German investor

HARARE - The Agricultural Rural Development Authority (Arda) says it is in talks with a potential German partner to ramp up production at its Mutorashanga Estate, as it also moves to secure investors to fund under-capacitated commercial farmers in the 2015/17 farming season.

Arda chairman, Basil Nyabadza, on Tuesday told the businessdaily that the parastatal had held several meetings with the German firm, aiming to extend its Mutorashanga Estate from 500 Hectares (ha) to 1 000ha.

“We are having talks with them so that we ensure an increase in production. At the end of the day an increase in hectarage will result in better yields and food security,” Nyabadza said, adding the investors were in the country this week.

While he was not in a position to reveal the name of the investor, the Arda boss said he was positive deliberations were going to result in a meaningful partnership.

Apart from the German investor, Arda also anticipates to get an investor for its 500ha tea estate in Honde Valley as it is presently in discussions with players from the United Kingdom (UK) and Canada.

“We hold 200ha and anticipate our partner will finish off the remaining 300ha. At the moment, we are discussing with players from Canada and the UK. We hope to finalise the transaction soon,” he said.

Nyabadza also highlighted the parastatal’s plans to act as guarantor for loans to be availed to undercapitalised commercial farmers under a tripartite arrangement targeting large scale commercial farmers who have resources to support irrigation on their farms.

“The aim of the project is to have commercial farmers exploit their full potential. So, we have stepped in and tripartite negotiations with the parties are in place. So far, there have been takers of guarantees of tenor,” he said.

Farmers targeted under the scheme are those who own a minimum of 200ha with water sources on or close to their farms.

Nyabadza also gave an update of progress at Arda’s 21 estates around the country, saying the parastatal was in a retooling drive.

“From Mash Central to Midlands, extending through Masvingo into Matabeleland we are moving to ramp up production, getting partners and investors along with various other programmes,” said Nyabadza.

Zimbabwe suffered a poor agricultural season in 2015/2016 season after an El Nino-induced dry spell hit the country, this contributed to poor preparations and low yields. This then culminated in a 53 percent slump in maize crop yields to 742 000 tonnes.

“It is against this background that we want to increase our cereal production in the coming agricultural season,” Nyabadza said.

Comments (2)

I thought it was illegal to lease farms to white people , thats why the farms were taken away from them in the first place and handed to the indigenous. Mr Mugabe is on record warning any new farmers caught leasing/partnering white farmers would loose their land. As far I see it it European companies are esentially the same white people as we have in Zim. Don't say you were not warned Mr Nyabadza!

wadyenhiri - 15 September 2016

After courting the investor how much will be available for palms' greasing Mr Chairman, knowing very much well as you do also that ARDA is a dead donkey.

Mukanya - 15 September 2016

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