ARDA on new Joint Venture Policy

By Tendai Munengwa

THE Agricultural Rural Development Authority (ARDA) has taken a policy shift from leasing land to entering into Strategic Joint Ventures which are market and value driven.

Having sealed a US$250 million deal with an Indian distilling giant last month, the Agricultural Rural Development Authority (ARDA) says joint ventures are the way to go if the authority is to boost production at its estates.

The ARDA India deal will increase demand for sorghum, barley and sugar cane from contracted farmers, prompting ARDA to institute a policy shift.

ARDA Chief Executive Officer, Tinotenda Mhiko revealed that the authority is moving away from the culture of leasing land, but to forge strategic joint ventures in production, marketing and value addition of produce.

We have a new mandate in line with NDS1 that of transforming our estates and empower the rural communities. So, we are saying we are no longer leasing our land but we will be embarking on joint ventures which are strategic and beneficial to rural communities’ thrust of industrial revolution,” he said.

Joint Ventures were approved by government in 2018 with the Zimbabwe Land Commission describing it as a game changer for farmers who have been battling to secure funding.

We have been auditing several farms to ensure productivity, transparency and fairness. But, what we have seen is that joint ventures are the way to go, they are the game changer for farmers who have been battling for resources,” said Commissioner Phillip Sewera – Zim Land Commission.

Latest statistics by government show that over 2000 joint ventures have been approved with expectations to transform over 150 thousand unproductive farms into win-win viable entities for farmers and their partners.