Zimbabwe Farmers Not Getting Allocated Combine Harvesters 01/03/2008

The farm mechanization program established by the government of Zimbabwe in 2004 provided tractors, combine harvesters, upgrade irrigation facilities as well as purchasing fertilizers for new farmers under the land reform takeover. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development was given 1.5 trillion in 2004 by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in Zimbabwe dollars to procure these machines for the new farmers. But some farmers have complained that government officials, politicians and civil servants allocated the equipment to themselves leaving some farmers without harvesting equipment and unable to harvest the grown wheat. This meant that many of the new farmers that acquired farm land in the land grab of 2000 lost their crops when they were unable to harvest them due to not having combine harvesters.

According to the website, TheZimbabwean, farmers have also complained that the subsidized fuel program of 40 million Zimbabwe dollars was also diverted from the new farmers on to the black market and farmers did not have the cash to buy fuel for their farming equipment. Zimbabwe is already in the middle of a massive crop shortage which as landed the Zimbabwe agricultural market and economic market into very difficult times. According to statements released by the Zimbabwe government at least 2 125 tractors, 85 combine harvesters, 1 263 disc harrows and 1 386 ox-drawn ploughs has been distributed under the program since June last year. Agriculture Engineering, Mechanization and Irrigation Minister Joseph Made said some farmers were abusing their equipment by not servicing their tractors in time. He also said tractors were being used to ferry people around.

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