Arda sets aside land for irrigation
THE Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (Arda) has identified 125 000 hectares of land which is lying idle across the country that will be put under irrigation farming.
In an interview, Arda board chairperson, Mr Basil Nyabadza, said the agriculture authority was now mobilising resources to utilise the land under Arda’s graduation programme. He said at least $100 million is required for the project. “We recently put out a notice inviting A1 and A2 farmers with at least 200 hectares of land who are failing to farm on their land due to limited resources to partner with us under the Arda graduation programme.
“So far we have identified 125 000 hectares of such land across the country and we expect the figure to double.
“A number of potential investors have shown interest in funding the programme,” Mr Nyabadza said.
He said the programme targets idle land close to reliable water sources and Arda would provide farmers with modern equipment for irrigation.
Mr Nyabadza said farmers and investors would both benefit.
“We will contract farmers and we will be installing the latest irrigation equipment on their farms. We will also buy back the produce from these farms and the contracted farmers will use the money to pay for the machinery,” he said.
Mr Nyabadza said the agriculture authority would also be providing contracted individuals with farming skills and the programme was part of efforts to revive the agricultural sector.
He said under the programme, they would engage in horticulture, livestock production, among others depending on where the land would be located.
He said some of the products would be exported. Mr Nyabadza said a number of farm occupants nationwide were failing to exploit their land due to resource constraints.
He said as a result, vast amounts of land were either lying idle or being underutilised — @DubeMatutu.
Arda board chairman, Mr Basil Nyabadza