India targets Zim agric, SMEs sectors

HARARE – Indian ambassador to Zimbabwe Rungsung Masakui said his country is ready to invest in the country’s agriculture and small to medium enterprises (SMEs) sector.

“Though India is a food self-sufficient country, we do import huge amount of agriculture products such as lentils, and oil seeds among others,” he said at a Zimbabwe India breakfast meeting in the capital yesterday.

The envoy added that there was need for cooperation in terms of possible agricultural land on lease to cultivate these products or to lift from the products produced by the Zimbabwean farmers.

“India also produce reasonably good agro-based machineries such as tractors, irrigation pumps and others,” Masakui said.

However, the Indian ambassador said he was not happy with the fact that Zimbabwe continues to import inferior but expensive tractors from other nations despite good relations between the two countries.

“What disappointed me was that some other similar products from other countries of much higher price — almost double the price — were preferred over these products.

“I would like to appeal for level playing field for such products in your transactions,” he added.

India, the world’s seventh largest economy, is also known for supplying agriculture inputs such as pesticides at lower prices.

Masakui further indicated that his country was ready to support Zimbabwe’s agriculture sector through deploying experts for short-term periods.

“Given that the SME sector contributes hugely to the GDP of the two countries, efforts are being made to intensify cooperation in this sector.

“There have been verbal requests for experts from India to assist SME ministry,” he said, adding that this has been sounded out to relevant agency in India and they are happy to consider the proposal.

“This represents an opportunity for deeper and wider cooperation among small and medium enterprises to resuscitate the units which are operating below its optimal levels.

“Maybe twining of city of Bulawayo with an industrial city in India may generate interest for investment and business collaboration among other efforts,” Masakui said.

India is also keen to invest in Zimbabwe’s health, ICT, Mining and the Power and Energy sectors among others.