India to provide $40m agro finance

INDIA will provide US$40 million to Zambia for implementation of the agriculture mechanisation programme.
Recently, the Government announced that it was going to launch the programme within the next two months aimed at increasing productivity.
Agriculture mechanisation is a production technology that encourages the use of mechanised agriculture equipment.
Indian High Commissioner to Zambia and special representative to the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa  Gaddam Dharmendra said his Government would provide about $40 million to support Zambia’s mechanisation programme.
“We are working closely with the Government of Zambia in the health, energy and agriculture sectors and we are helping Zambia to mechanise its agriculture sector,” he said.
Mr Dharmendra said in an interview recently that the resources would be provided through the Export-Import Bank of India and were currently waiting for the Zambian Government to sign an agreement.
He said the Government would decide which areas the project was to be implemented in, but was targeting the small-scale farmers.
“We will be providing implements, tractors and hand implements to improve productivity of small and medium-scale farmers. This is not for the big farmers, it is for the small-scale farmers so that they can get some tools to increase productivity,” he said.
Mr Dharmendra said it was important for the farmers not to become consumers of their produce, but for them to be able to put their produce on to the market.
“Both Governments have agreed to move this project forward; we are just waiting to conclude all the agreements,” he said.
Agriculture Minister Given Lubinda said his ministry was expected to launch the agriculture mechanisation programme before the elections in order to increase the number of smallholder farmers engaged in mechanisation.
“We are in the process of developing the programme and there are various concepts that we are thinking about. Our main thrust will be to increase mechanisation by the small-scale farmers.
“It is time for the small-scale farmers to put the hand hoe in their backyard and start applying mechanisation for their farming purposes,” Mr Lubinda said.

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