bazil nyabadza 08-11-10.jpgThe business community in Matebeleland region has been called upon to partner with the Agriculture Rural Development Authority (ARDA) which requires 5 million dollars to resuscitate and improve capacity utilisation to 70% within a period of 24 months.

 

ARDA Board Chairperson, Mr. Basil Nyabadza, made the call during a tour with potential investors to assess the state of ARDA farms in Matebeleland North Province.

 

He said the authority is currently faced with several constraints chief among them, dilapidated and under-utilised equipment, exodus of skilled manpower and financial challenges since the authority has not received any allocation from Treasury in the last 55 months.

 

He added that time has now come to look beyond sanctions and engage in partnerships so as to improve capacity utilisation which currently stands at 30%.

 

“Initially, domestic investment is very important, the regional as well, but we believe the first bite must be from Bulawayo, so the business community in Bulawayo must take up this challenge.

“Yes they can partner with other from abroad but ideally Bulawayo business community must take up the challenge,” he said.
 
National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board Vice Chairperson, Mrs. Sakhile Masuku, said the business community is ready to take up the challenge through the partnership programme and resuscitate idle farms, a development which will improve food security and creation of employment opportunities among other benefits.

 

“We are very excited about it because some ARDA farms are lying idle and they are known for cattle breeding and that will result in the revival of CSC. We’ll also have a situation where the 20 000 jobs which Minister Welshman Ncube was lamenting, will come back on to the stream,” she said.

 

ARDA has 22 Estates and other smaller properties countrywide, with four farms in Matebeleland North Province which produce rice, maize, sorghum, wheat and cattle.

A visit to Jotsholo and Balu in Umguza revealed that dams, land and even equipment which is still operational is heavily under-utilised.