ZWL$1.7 billion potato funding facility launched

By Regis Mhako

THE agricultural recovery plan continues to gain traction, with the ZWL$1.7 billion potato funding model launched in Norton this Tuesday.

The model which promotes linkages between farmers and the market will see an initial injection of ZWL$700 million with the rest expected to be disbursed in phases.

Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Permanent Secretary, Dr John Basera gave an insight into the model which is part of the ongoing import substitution drive.

“Through the model, the government will be able to stop imports of potatoes,” said Dr John Basera, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development.

Facilitated by the Agricultural Finance Corporation, the initiative comes with a ready market for the perishable crop.

“Potatoes are perishable and we know most of our farmers do not have cold rooms to store them after harvesting, making it important to create linkages with the market before production,” said Francis Macheka, AFC Group CEO.

Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister, Honourable Mary Mliswa called for the scheme to be introduced in rural areas under the Pfumvudza programme.

“Let rural areas also benefit through this model,” she said.

The event was attended by farmers, players from the private sector and government officials.