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Govt moves in to standardise agriculture equipment

Story by Tambaoga Gora

THE government is in the process of drafting new standards for agriculture mechanisation equipment to ensure compatibility of imported machinery with locally produced implements, as the transformation of the farming sector gathers pace.

The Department of Agriculture Mechanisation and Soil Conservation in collaboration with the Standards Association of Zimbabwe is in the process of consulting stakeholders in the agriculture value chain on farm machinery and equipment standards, particularly tractors and thresher specifications.

Localised standards are envisaged to boost production and help reduce injury risk.

“The equipment must be suitable for our farming conditions, the government must not allow sub-standard machinery into the country, because as a farmer you need to spend more time in the field and not in town looking for spare parts,” noted a farmer who spoke to ZBC News.

“This is a welcome move taken by the Zimbabwean Government, it is prominent to set up standards so that some parameters can be inspected and get results for the performances, so this initiative of the Zimbabwean Government is quite appreciable,” HASTT Zimbabwe General Manager, Eng Veejay Lotake.

Deputy Director in the Department of Agriculture Mechanisation and Soil Conservation Engineer Tirivangani Koza said issues of durability, compatibility and availability of spares are key in certifying farm equipment.

“Taking, for example, the thresher standards there are so many sizes and types of thresher on the market and you find that the bulk of them are imported from outside so the major challenge we are facing is the durability, so lifespan is one factor and also the issue of availability of spares, some of the products we have in the country do not last so we need to adhere to certain standards including most of our local manufacturers who are in the informal sector were they produce substandard equipment,” said Engineer Khoza.

Farm mechanisation has been identified as a key driver for production, profitability, and competitiveness in the agricultural sector.

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