Arda in new partnerships with villagers

The Agricultural Rural Development Agency (ARDA) has embarked on an ambitious out-growers programme that will see small holders accessing vast tracts of fertile land which were being underutilized at its Kaerezi Estates.

Under the project, a total of 30 farmers including women in Gaerezi area have been allocated two hectares of each to grow potatoes under irrigation. Arda will bankroll the project and has promised to assist in the marketing of the produce.

ARDA board chairman, Basil Nyabadza said they have engaged communal farmers to enable the parastatal to put its idle land to use after lying fallow for more than a decade due to lack of state support.

He said they will access lines of credit from funds being generated from Arda Chisumbanje where ethanol is being produced in partnership with Green Fuels.

“Development that has taken place at Arda Chisumbanje where we are producing ethanol is going to benefit all Arda Estates. For a long time we have been under funded but we have found an in-house line of credit. Arda Chisumbanje will become the nucleus of development for rural development in areas we operate,” said Nyabadza.

“We have invited the local community to participate in the potato out -grower project. This is a pilot project which will run until the end of the year. If it succeeds then we will increase the number of beneficiaries.”

Nyabadza said such projects will boost rural development which has been stagnant for years due to underfunding. In Matebeleland and Midlands, Arda will partner local communities in livestock production; while in Mashonaland the company would work on cereals and small grains. “This will boost food security in the country and at household level. This will also raise income for the farmers to meet their day to day needs,” said Nyabadza.

Chief Saunyama said: “We are happy with this partnership with Arda. It is going to create employment and boost food security.”

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