Zimbabwe has secured a US$300 million loan facility from Brazil to support farmers under the More Food for Africa program.
Speaking after meeting Brazilian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Marcia Maro da Silva in Harare yesterday, Agriculture, Mechanization and Irrigation Development Minister Joseph Made said the money will boost agricultural production and enhance food security.
The costs of the money and repayment period were not disclosed.
However, Zimbabwe is the first beneficiary of the Brazilian aid scheme for Africa.
Said Minister Made: “The More Food for Africa program is important for the country as it has managed to address some of the challenges we have been facing in securing lines of credit to support the agriculture sector that incidentally is the backbone of the economy.”
He said Brazil had provided US$600 million to support the Chisumbanje Ethanol Project and deployed technical staff and engineers to work alongside Zimbabweans.
Minister Made hailed Brazil’s efforts in supporting both the agriculture and energy sectors.
He said the co-operation between the two countries was critical in boosting food security and economic development.
Minister Made said co-operation between Zimbabwe and Brazil had enabled Zimbabwe to develop plans of expanding the Chisumbanje ethanol project.
Brazil exported technology, machinery and other equipment to Zimbabwe to boost mechanization capacity and irrigation performance.
Minister Made expressed gratitude that authorities had granted the Chisumbanje ethanol project the license to trade in products related to ethanol-based fuel.
“Government recently set up an inter-ministerial committee to spearhead the development of the project.
“In working on the project with Brazil, more food and ethanol would be produced to save the rest of Africa and these give the private sector investment opportunities,” he said. Minister Made described the ethanol project as a private-public-partnership open for more investment to come in and link with their Brazilian counterparts.
This, he said, would allow them to explore opportunities in the agriculture, energy, mining and water development sectors.
“We need energy in the sector to get irrigation going. Water is critical in the agriculture sector so the Brazilian gesture to assist in irrigation development will boost levels of production,” he said.