27 November 2017

Zimbabwe: Arda Ties Down Investors

The Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (Arda) has managed to tie down investors for all its estates through the public private partnership (PPP) framework, as it positions itself to become a prime agricultural producer.

Arda chairperson Mr Basil Nyabadza said they secured investors interested in various business activities such as dairy and livestock, maize, soyabeans, timber, potatoes, butter nuts, stevia, pecan and macadamia nuts.

"The investors were secured under the 10-Point Plan using the public private partnerships business model," said Mr Nyabadza in an interview yesterday.

"Since last year, we are now doubling our yields, our production has improved so much."

Mr Nyabadza said they were carrying out cereal production and horticulture and livestock projects in Matabeleland North.

He said they were also rotating maize and wheat production in the area.

"Under horticulture, we are doing potatoes and butternuts," he said.

"We have just secured an investor to do a plantation of pecan nuts that are dedicated for exports."

In Matabeleland South, Arda has just harvested wheat and for the summer crop, it has put 1 500 hectares under maize.

Wheat yields at the estates are currently between eight and 10 tonnes per hectare.

Wheat harvesting has already been completed in the Midlands province, while 500 hectares have been put under soya beans.

In Masvingo, there is a thriving 500-hectare sugar cane crop, including a conservancy that has all the Big Five animals and safari lodges. In addition, the parastatal has also secured an investor for cattle ranching in some of its estates in the area.

According to Mr Nyabadza, Arda has planted 10 000 hectares of sugar cane and 200 hectares of tea. Dairy farming, macadamia nuts and timber plantations are some of the activities that Arda is carrying out in Manicaland.

"We have secured long-term investors to improve our plantations for both macadamia nuts and timber plantations," said Mr Nyabadza.

Arda, which has two estates in Mashonaland East, has put 350 hectares under maize and 150ha under soyabeans.

It also has a head of 100 dairy cows.

Furthermore, in Mashonaland West, there are 500 hectares of maize on the Sanyati Estate, while the Mhondoro Estate has 400 hectares under the same crop.

A processing plant for tomatoes, mangoes and guavas has been set up in Norton.

Arda, Mr Nyabadza said, had started running trials for stevia, a substitute for sugar cane.

Stevia is a sweetener used in the beverages industry.

"It is a first of its kind in Zimbabwe," said Mr Nyabadza. "It is a huge industry because people are now running away from sugar."

Mr Nyabadza said although their major focus was on stevia production, Arda, which has two estates in Muzarabani and Mushumbi Pools, has planted 100 hectares of seed maize and another 100 for commercial maize.

Last year, Government introduced Command Agriculture, which has so far achieved its intended purpose of stimulating economic growth, as it helped boost food production.

After many years of low maize production due to successive droughts over the years, Government intervened proactively to stimulate agricultural production with the focus on ensuring food security.


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