From Victoria Ruzvidzo in Beijing, China
A Zimbabwean business conglomerate has secured $500 million worth of deals in agriculture, mining and transport sectors to aid Zimbabwe’s economic transformation. In an interview here yesterday, Platinum Agriculture and Princewood Enterprises director Mr Dakarayi Mapuranga said their week long visit had yielded positive results for Zimbabwe’s economy.
A $400 million deal was signed with China’s Lovol company that produces heavy machinery for agriculture and mining while a $40 million revolving facility was secured with Good Agro Rising for the supply of chemicals for tobacco and other export-oriented crops.
Furthermore, Platinum Agriculture secured an $80 million deal for the supply of irrigation equipment that includes centre pivots and drip irrigation systems.
Dayu, the Chinese-listed firm which clinched the deal, will soon be in Zimbabwe to assess specific irrigation requirements and technology applicable to Zimbabwe.
The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement has already identified farms where the new systems would be installed. The ministry will guarantee the loans under the facility.
“They (Dayu) need to know our specific needs and the Ministry of Agriculture has already identified farms where the equipment will be installed,” said Mr Mapuranga.
“Our thrust is to support initiatives by the new dispensation to ensure farmers are supported with the machinery they need.
“This will help bring Zimbabwe back to its breadbasket status,” he added.
The firm has also secured a deal with Allen Bus under which at least 1 500 buses will be brought into the country to ease transport challenges in Harare and other towns.
At least 500 buses will be imported fully-assembled while the remaining 1 000 will be brought in as kits to be assembled in Zimbabwe.
The buses will have their suspensions modified to suit Zimbabwe’s roads.
“We came here as a private sector contingent accompanied by technicians from the Ministry of Agriculture. Our mission was to sign public-private sector initiatives to help Zimbabwe’s economic recovery,” said Mr Mapuranga.
More deals are expected to be sealed by Platinum Agriculture and a number of business executives that are here as part of President Mnangagwa’s team.
The bus project will come to fruition within the next six months while delivery of irrigation and mining equipment should start within three months.
Mr Mapuranga said distribution of equipment such as centre pivots would be done through banks who would finance purchases by individual farmers. They would then pay back within an agreed period of between three and five years.
President Mnangagwa will meet China business executives today.