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Belarus agriculture deal set to boost Zimbabwe's food security

A US$58mn deal between the two countries will revolutionalise Zimbabwes agriculture industry, stated Zimbabwes Honorary Consul to Belarus Alexander Zingman

The first batch of modern farm machinery has been shipped to Harare, including 20 grain harvesters for grain and maize, 100 tractors and 52 seed drills, with the second batch expected by December.

“This deal brings Belarusian expertise in agriculture and engineering to Zimbabwe. Both countries have been expanding ties since 2015 and this deal is a win-win for both,” said Alexander Zingman.

Zimbabwe's president Emmerson Mnangagwa had called for a comprehensive project to modernise and mechanise the entire agricultural sector. The country is reeling from the economic effects of coronavirus, a disastrous drought and Cyclone Idai last year, leaving more than five million people in need of food aid.

The agriculture deal was signed in 2018, with Belarus providing farming machinery and advanced technology to Zimbabwe, as well as training for local farmers in cultivation, seeding, irrigation, and crop harvesting. It also provided the project with long-term financing for the acquisition of equipment.

Belarusian technical specialists have been sent to Zimbabwe for one year to provide training to farmers in modern farming techniques. Zimbabwean specialists will get two months training in Belarus.

"This project will enable Zimbabwean farmers to boost the productivity of their land and to reduce their losses through timely crops harvesting. The result will be that farmers can ensure the food security of Zimbabwe itself and, where possible, also raise their income levels by exporting their produce," said Zingman.

Belarus and Zimbabwe are complementary in many ways when it comes to trade. Belarus provides sophisticated technology and investment, which Zimbabwe can use to boost its economy and productivity. Bilateral trade was more than US$30mn for the past three years. For the first four months of 2020, trade between Belarus and Zimbabwe has already exceeded US$7mn.