The Sunday News
AT least 200 people have been employed at Antelope Arda Estate in Maphisa after a private player Trek Petroleum injected more than $1,2 million in the venture after winning the bid to partner the parastatal in reviving the estate.
About three years ago, Arda invited private players to partner the parastatal in reviving its 21 estates which are dotted across the country.
Speaking after a tour of the Antelope Arda estate wheat project in Maphisa on Tuesday Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Deputy Minister responsible for cropping Davis Marapira commended the partnership between Trek Petroleum and Arda and said this was a sign that PPPs could work to revive agriculture.
“This is evidence of how Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) are paying off in the agriculture sector and how, if highly mechanised, the sector can perform better. We have seen a very good crop of wheat under 430 hectares and if everything is ok, we are anticipating at least nine tonnes per hectare,” said Cde Marapira.
He said there was evidence that with the latest technologies in use in the country, Zimbabwe could soon restore its status as the bread basket of Southern Africa.
“These centre pivots are the latest irrigation equipment as well as the 290 horsepower tractors and GPS equipment being used on this farm. PPPs are a Government policy and we have seen how beneficial the partnership between Trek and Arda has been,” he said.
Arda board chairman Mr Basil Nyabadza said the partnership between Trek Petroleum and the parastatal was a PPP in action and a policy meant to enhance food security in the country as stated in the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-economic Transformation (Zim Asset) blueprint.
Mr Nyabadza said it was important for different departments to work together to complement each other, cut out unnecessary bureaucracy and achieve tangible results.
“In the past 12 weeks, at least 200 jobs have been created in Maphisa due to this project and this is the first phase which involves two of our estates, that is Antelope and Ngwizi in Mangwe. Development is when we interact out in the field,” said Mr Nyabadza.
He said the target was to plant 500 ha of winter wheat crop and 700ha of the summer soya bean crop.
“Our aim at Antelope Estate is to have at least 1 500 hectares under plantation in summer. These are the satellite points for development, we have retained our people with all work on the farm being done by the villagers,” he said.
Speaking on the developments of Arda estates around the country, Mr Nyabadza said there were 21 estates with five being in the Matabeleland region, two in Matabeleland South and three in Matabeleland North.
He said work had already started in all these estates with 15 PPPs in action.
He said the benefits of such partnerships were that they bring access to latest technology as well as improving skilled labour in the country.
“We want to come to a point where we will be importing less because we are producing in excess here,” Mr Nyabadza said.
Trek Petroleum general manager Mr Onias Sanangura said this was a five-year partnership with Government which has seen the company investing in equipment and machinery.
Mr Sanangura said his company had also invested about $900 000 in Ngwizi Arda estate as it continues to diversify its operations.