Tractors and disc harrows acquired by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) at the height of the country’s farm mechanisation exercise are lying idle in Buhera district while some people have resorted to hiring out the equipment to eke out a living.
The RBZ distributed hundreds of tractors to new farmers under the Farm Mechanisation Programme and the Agricultural Support Enhancement Facility for use in the 2007-2008 agricultural season.
In an interview in Buhera at the weekend, Headman Pedzisai Murambinda said the hectarage they had was too small for the use of tractor tilling.
“It’s been three years since we were given these tractors, but as you can see, they are still fairly new,” said Murambinda. “The equipment would be helpful if we had bigger pieces of land.”
He said some beneficiaries ended up hiring out their tractors to farmers with bigger hectarage.
A NewsDay crew on a tour of Buhera saw a number of tractors lying abandoned at Murambinda growth point.
“The tractors are now being hired out for between $75 and $80 per hectare to people that have vast tracts land and can afford to pay for the services,” Murambinda said.
“We have to charge reasonable rates to ensure that we can service the tractors when they break down,” said a tractor owner, who preferred to remain anonymous.
Analysts estimate that the RBZ used more than $400 million over a period of three years on equipment and subsidised inputs for farmers in a bid to resuscitate the ailing agriculture sector.
RBZ governor Gideon Gono took centre-stage in the administration of the disbursement of the farm mechanisation equipment.