By Walter Nyamukondiwa
Anhui State Farms of China, which is being set up by the Zim-China Wanjin Agriculture Company in partnership with the Government, is set to establish an agricultural industrial hub for value addition and beneficiation of agricultural produce in Zimbabwe.
Once operational, the industrial zone is expected to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and skills from the highly mechanised and advanced Chinese State company.
This dovetails with President Mnangagwa’s drive to increase production, value add and beneficiate agricultural produce and other extracted minerals.
Speaking during a tour of Zim-China Wanjin Agricultural Company’s Hunyani Farm in Chinhoyi, China’s Anhui Province deputy governor Zhou Xi’an said the establishment of the agricultural industrial hub would be dealt with as a matter of urgency.
“We will discuss two things in detail and the first one is the shift of agriculture structure of Wanjin Company in Zimbabwe,” he said.
“Secondly, we will discuss in detail the construction of an agriculture industrial hub in Zimbabwe and we will do our best to implement the suggestions made by the Agriculture Commission of Anhui Province.”
Mr Zhou said the hub will include the production of crops, manufacturing and agricultural machinery.
He said the visit to the company was an eye-opener.
From the discussions he held with Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs Minister Mary Mliswa-Chikoka, Mr Zhou said restructuring of the company to respond to the needs of the domestic market was a priority.
Zim-China Wanjin Company — a joint venture between Anhui Province and the Ministry of Defence — was established in 2010 to improve food security and generate foreign currency for Zimbabwe.
It specialises in growing tobacco, wheat and maize, among other agricultural ventures.
The company has also produced at least 100 000 tonnes of maize from an investment of $5 million.
Mr Zhou said efforts should be made to make the Wanjin Company bigger and a model for the Anhui Province ventures outside China.
President Mnangagwa visited Anhui Province during his State visit to China in April and Mr Zhou said this year had seen a deepening of relations between China and Zimbabwe.
“What we should take into account is that every step we should consider how to make Wanjin Company fit the domestic market of Zimbabwe, how to shift their structure and how to make them more competitive than in the past,” he said.
Minister Mliswa-Chikoka said the company should do more to mechanise and also value add for the growth of the province’s Gross Domestic Product.
“Value addition is required and we want this venture to be mutually beneficial,” she said.
“We are open to suggestions and this partnership should ensure that you (Chinese investors) and we are happy.
“We really want joint ventures, but it should include value addition and it should benefit both parties. We want to know what is happening so that when you are not there, we can continue. It’s a give and take.”