Home » Business » Arda Enters Into Partnership With Firms to Revive Estates

THE Agriculture Rural Development Authority has entered into medium term partnerships with private firms to revive some of its idle estates, an official has said.

The public private partnerships are part of medium to long term measures by ARDA, a State-owned entity, to get private firms involved in funding agricultural projects at the authorities’ idle estates, chairman Mr Basil Nyabadza said this week.

ARDA has 21 estates across the country, with a number of them lying idle due to lack of funding.

“The issue is about extracting value from the estates that we own,” Mr Nyabadza said during a tour of the 1 500-hectare Fair Acres Estate in lower Gweru, Midlands Province.

“The PPPs help us to secure funding and latest technology and we are witnessing dramatic improvements in terms of yields where these have been successfully implemented.”

At the Fair Acre Estate, ARDA is partnership with Northern Farming, a local company and has planted about 460ha of soya beans this season. The Estate has been fully mechanised with state of the art equipment including centre pivots for irrigation.

After soya bean harvest, ARDA will plant wheat during the winter to ensure maximum land utilization.

The partnership started two years ago on a seasonal basis and the parties have since signed a five year deal, which can be renewed on expiry. Even if the contract is discontinued, the agreement allows ARDA to retail key infrastructure at the estate.

In the next two years, an investment of about $1 million would be made on the Fair Acre Estate to ensure all the land is utilized. In Matabeleland North, the authority has partnered some investors to rehabilitate the Antelope Estate and Ngwezi Estate.

“We are starting with winter wheat on about 700 ha and gradually improve as new investment flows in,” said Mr Nyabadza.

“We have reached a point where we have created confidence and more private investors are coming on board and we will continue pursuing these PPPs to extract value from the estates to ensure the success of ZimAsset.”

Commenting on the idle tomato canning plant in Matabeleland, which was recently visited by Vice President Phelekezela Mpoko, Mr Nyabadza said the concerns raised by the VP should be taken seriously and appealed to responsible authorities to look into the challenges which led to the collapse of the project. The project, a joint venture between ARDA and Development Trust of Zimbabwe was mooted in early 90s.

However, the disputes between the two partners resulted in the project failing to take off.

“The VP has demonstrated that he is fully behind business,” said Mr Nyabadza. “Sadly, the project had some problems but with the Vice President talking about it, I am sure and confident that the barriers (which stalled the project) can be removed.”

Source : The Herald

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