Fidelis Munyoro Chief Reporter
Zimbabwe and China Lesso Group yesterday signed an agricultural cooperation agreement under which 12 800 hectares will be put under irrigation for the production of over 60 000 tonnes of maize each season.
The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Mr Bwenje Clemence Taderera, the acting chief director (for) strategic planning and business development in the Ministry of Agriculture and Mr Yi Biao Luo, the general manager of China Lesso Group.
China Lesso Group is a top firm in the manufacture and sale of farming equipment and machinery.
Zimbabwe will soon dispatch a team to assess the equipment, its suitability to local needs, and proceed with the deal if all works out.
Speaking to journalists after the signing of the MoU, the Chinese firm’s head of the seven-member delegation, Mr Tang Hai Bo, said his company was excited with the development.
“We are glad to sign an agreement with the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement today,” he said.
“So, in future we will work hard on the agreement we signed today and improve the agriculture sector of Zimbabwe. We are going to provide advanced technology to Zimbabwe,” said Mr Tang.
Mr Taderera hailed the MoU, describing it as strategic in Zimbabwe’s fight against climate change which has affected rainfall patterns.
“We have agreed to develop 12 800 hectares of land and that will be developed to drip irrigation, sprinkler irrigation and also some centre pivots,” he said.
“We are also going to have that being solar-powered in light of climate change where we have seen a decline in water for irrigation and power generation.”
He said the agreement was expected to be implemented next year.
“Now we are going to visit China Lesso to assess the equipment, its suitability and satisfy ourselves that this equipment will be suitable for our environment,” he said.
“The trip to China is also meant to finalise in terms of quantities, in terms of the prices, once that has been done within the next few months, implementation can be done.”
Mr Taderera said they needed to negotiate terms of payment with Treasury so that the necessary resources were provided for the Agriculture ministry to proceed with the transaction.
The China Lesso Group delegation, which has been in the country since last week, offered to partner the Government in the development of irrigation schemes using latest technologies that conserve water.
The delegation was invited by First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa after she visited the company during her recent trip to China.
During the past week, the Chinese delegation toured eight farms in Mashonaland West, Midlands and Matabeleland South provinces to assess irrigation technologies being used by local farmers.
The delegation also toured President Mnangagwa’s Pricabe Farm in Sherwood on the outskirts of Kwekwe. It also met Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister Perrance Shiri and officials from his ministry to discuss possible partnerships, which culminated in the signing of the agreement.