Iran Releases US$3,5m For Tractor Project

In an exclusive interview in Harare, Pournajaf said this cash had come through the Iranian Official Development Association (ODA).

“The Iranian government through its Official Development Association has released US$3,5 million to assist with the transportation of tractors and implements from Iran to Zimbabwe,” he said in Harare.

“We have engaged some commercial banks to avail the funds and this could see some farmers buying tractors on credit in Zimbabwe.”

Sources said each tractor could cost between US$45 000 and US$70 000.

Iran works closely with the Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe Limited (IDC) the government’s cash-cow currently led by Mike Ndudzo.

Two years ago President Robert Mugabe and his counterpart Iranian President Mahommad Ahmajinejad, launched the Motira Tractor Plant which is based in the Willowvale area in Harare.

Under the new tractor scheme between Iran and Zimbabwe, farmers pay an initial deposit of 30 percent of the price and pay the rest in 24 months.

Motira also introduced a farmers’ improvement programme where they would be offered training to acquire adequate knowledge on the tractors being assembled in Zimbabwe in Willowvale.

Last year Motira increased its capacity to 68 units, up from 56 units assembled in 2010.

In an interview the Iranian Ambassador said Motira did more than just tractors but assembled generators as well and produced agricultural implements such as disc harrows, planters, and ploughs for farmers here.

“There are plans to establish a foundry plant here in Zimbabwe,” he said.

“But we need to create a plant and build the market first. Locally signs are encouraging.

We are also planning to penetrate the regional market.”

Iran celebrated its 33rd anniversary last week during which the exclusive interview was conducted.

“This is testimony of the strong relationship between Zimbabwe and Iran,” Pournajaf said.