Arda sets aside land for ir­ri­ga­tion

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - National News - Sukul­wenkosi Dube-Matutu

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

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