GOVERNMENT’s partnership with the private sector has started paying dividends at Arda Jotsholo in Matabeleland North Province where large scale production is now in full swing.
Government partnered with Mr Brent le Reux, a private investor in 2016 and the farm now has close to 300 herd of commercial and pedigree Aberdeen Angus cattle imported from South Africa, 300 pigs and a variety of crops. About 150ha of winter wheat has been planted, 20 ha of maize and 21 different horticultural produce on eight hectares. The farm has further diversified and established a milling unit, which produces eight tonnes of maize meal per day, supplying shops and individuals in Lupane, Binga, Hwange and Victoria Falls.
Chronicle Business visited the farm on Friday when Minister of State in Vice President Constantino Chiwenga’s Office, Evelyn Ndlovu, toured the irrigation scheme. While expressing concern on the state of other irrigation schemes in the province, Minister Ndlovu said she was impressed with production at Arda Jotsholo.
“I am impressed with what I found here,” she said after touring the scheme.
The scheme is partly assisted under the Command Agriculture programme and the province is making efforts to ensure that it is supplied with fuel to be able to act as a service station for the whole of Jotsholo as it has on site tanks with a capacity of close to 40 000 litres.
Mr le Reux said efforts were being made to expand wheat and maize cropping to 400ha and 100ha respectively.
“We planted 150ha of winter wheat but we plan to have 400ha next year. We planted 20ha of seed maize and plan to put 100ha on maize and 200ha on soya beans. We have 21 different vegetables on eight hectares and we are supplying these to hotels in Victoria Falls,” he said.
Mr le Reux said he introduced the Australian type of farm technology at the farm, adding that the farm has potential to supply the whole of the tourism industry in the province including Victoria Falls with quality meat and vegetables.
He said the farm will bring livestock bloodline to Matabeleland North as the bulls will be sold to locals to boost the national herd. The hospitality industry in Victoria Falls is importing vegetables and beef from Botswana, Zambia, Namibia and South Africa. Mr le Reux said they were targeting to slaughter 1 000 pigs per year.
The milling firm produces eight tonnes of maize meal per day at the farm under the brand “Mat North FTN Jotsholo Gold”.
Mr le Reux said all activities were anchored on value addition. About 100 people are employed at the farm and each receives grocery hampers and an assortment of vegetables every month, which Mr le Reux said was meant to improve livelihoods and contribute to food and nutrition levels.
There is a ready market for the farm in Hwange, Victoria Falls, Binga and Lupane, which form part of the greater Victoria Falls Special Economic Zone greenbelt. — chron ie.o.zw