Zimbabwe is expected to receive $2 million worth of equipment from India for a food testing laboratory, which is being established in the Department of the Research and Specialist Services under the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development.
This came out at a meeting between Agriculture Minister Dr Joseph Made and Indian Ambassador Rungsung Masakui held at the ministry's Ngungunyana offices yesterday.
Dr Made said the meeting was meant to review several agricultural projects, chief among them the progress of the food testing laboratory. The laboratory, which will be equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, will test domestic and export materials.
"We also reviewed the development of the irrigation sector, in particular the possibilities of receiving pumps, centre pivots, drip and micro jets," said Dr Made.
"Under irrigation also was the fact that Zimbabwe has an opportunity to produce crops that can be marketed in India. Horticultural crops such as onions, avocado pears of a specific variety and pulses."
They also discussed silk production and Dr Made pointed out that Zimbabwe produced a lot of mulberry trees and the project could be of mutual interest because of high demand of silk in India.
Dr Made said the discussions also included the aspect of crop dryers, as Indians were the leaders in crop drying equipment. He raised the possibilities of supplying combine harvesters to assist in harvesting crops like soyabeans and small grains.
"We also discussed on the supply of smaller machinery and equipment to assist horticultural farmers," said Dr Made. "Ambassador Masakui indicated that an Indian machinery and equipment delegation that is coming to the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries Annual Congress and International Investment Forum would also like to meet me and I accepted.
"It was important that farmers note that all this machinery and equipment will not be for free, but they will have to pay. The matter will be concluded by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development Cde Patrick Chinamasa."
Dr Made said irrigation was the main task, as the country needed to prepare for times when there would be no rain.