President to launch $US58m Belarus mechanisation facility

By Janet Munyaka

The Belarus mechanisation facility which is expected to sufficiently capacitate Zimbabwean farmers is set to be launched in Harare this Wednesday.

This was announced by Belarusian Minister of Industry when he paid a courtesy call on President Emmerson Mnangagwa at the statehouse this Tuesday.

Belarus and Zimbabwe have enjoyed diplomatic ties since 1992 following the break-up of the Soviet Union, but it has only been in recent times, that the two nations have started extending these relations into the economic sphere with President Mnangagwa taking a proactive role.

A five-member delegation from Belarus led by the Minister of Industry Honourable Piotr Parhomchik comprising the President of Trade and Development Bank, Dr Admassu Tadesse, the Ambassador of Belarus in South Africa as well as the honorary Counsel of Zimbabwe to Belarus paid a courtesy call on President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The president’s team included the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Retired Luitenent General Dr Sibusiso Moyo, Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Dr Anxious Masuka and his deputy Honourable Vangelis Haritatos among other senior government officials.

Speaking through an interpreter the Belarusian Minister of Industry said the launch of the mechanisation facility is a culmination of a project that began in 2018 when the governments of Belarus and Zimbabwe signed an inter-governmental agreement for the supply of machinery and equipment.

“The US$58 million investment to modernise Zimbabwe’s farming industry saw over 800 units of farming equipment being sent to Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe received 60 self-propelled grain harvesters, 210 precision seed drills and 474 tractors. Jobs will also be created for local specialists. Employment opportunities will also be available at a full purpose service station that will maintain the vehicles and equipment.”

Wednesday’s launch is for the first batch of equipment and the delegation is expected to finalise negotiations for a second consignment of equipment to the tune of 50 million dollars as the government steps up efforts to boost productivity and ensure food security.

“Tomorrow we are launching 160 tractors and 90 combine harvesters. The rest of the equipment is expected by the end of the year and while they are here they will negotiate for the second tranche worth 50 million,” said Minister Masuka.

Belarus is one of the five Eurasian countries visited by President Mnangagwa in January last year where the two countries sealed several deals ranging from supply of agriculture machinery, dam construction and mining.

One of the Memoranda of Understanding was a 51 million United States dollar inter-governmental agreement on the supply of agriculture equipment.