Old infrastructure that dates back to the early 1980s is affecting operations of the District Development Fund (DDF) in the province, with only a few machines functional while the rest are broken down.
Speaking to guests at the commissioning of two tractors by the Masvingo Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Ezra Chadzamira at DDF premises in Mucheke on September 21, 2021, DDF provincial coordinator Marasa Gutukunhuwa said of the 72 tractors in the province only seven are working while others are on minor to major breakdowns.
“We have 72 tractors and out of those only seven are working. 24 are on minor breakdown while 41 are on major breakdown.
“We also have 48 ploughs and out of those four are working, 15 on minor breakdown and 29 on major. Of the 20 disc harrows, four are working, 10 on minor breakdown and six on major breakdown. Of the 19 planters only one is working while the rest are on major breakdown,” said Gutukunhuwa.
He bemoaned the deteriorating situation facing the department to which he attributed the decrease in effectiveness of operations in the province with a decline being noticed since 2015.
“Because of the deteriorating situation, this is what I may say; in 2015 we disced 492 hectares and reaped 100 hectares. In 2016-17 season, we did 4037 and last year we only did 307 hectares.
“Honorable minister, we are looking forward to receiving more of this equipment given that as a province we have more dams and the fact that most cattle the communities used to rely on as draught power succumbed to thelioriosis which we termed January disease hence the need for more chunk from the mechanisation programme,” he added.
Minister Chadzamira attributed the state of the equipment to economic sanctions that were imposed on Zimbabwe by the Westrn countries as he said they are no longer capable of buying spares to repair the equipment most of which were procured from European countries due to the restrictions.
“We call for unconditional removal of unilateral illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe which have hindered the procurement of spare parts for broken down equipment which we previously purchased from the Western countries.
“We are however using our local resources and expertise, brick by brick to build our economy by providing local solutions to our challenges. These tractors and equipment will take us to the next level as we endeavour to grow our economy. So many tractors are on breakdown and it is the wish of government that we get the spares so we can be able to repair them. However, we have since turned to friendly nations like Belarus who have made this kindly gesture by providing the equipment,” said Chadzamira.
The equipment received under the recapitalization programme include a new drilling rip, motorised grader, four supervisors’ vehicles, planter and two tractors
The poor state of the equipment is at odds with the achievement of food security provision by the province that is home to the nation’s 50 percent water hence being tasked with national food provision.