A Zimbabwean university, the Marondera University of Agricultural Science and Technology (MUAST) has established an agro-industrial park at the college after received $262 million from the government.
MUAST is the only fully fledged agricultural university in Zimbabwe and plans to commission its agro-industrial park later this year. .
The agro-industrial park is part of the government’s new strategic plan, which mandates universities and other tertiary institutions to be drivers of innovation and industrialisation for the provision of goods and services to the economy.
It covers 1020 hectares with 400ha being arable and of that 300ha already cleared for cropping.
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The mandate of the MUAST agro-Industrial park is to spearhead agricultural practices that constitute the entire value chain of livestock and crops.
The industrial park will also be used as a teaching laboratory for students where they will be exposed to highly mechanised and precision farming and this will ensure that on graduation they will be highly competent in crop and livestock production.
“We are about 70 percent complete in terms of its establishment and we are planning to start off in winter through winter wheat programme, we will start with 140 ha wheat and 20 ha under horticulture,” MUAST Founding Vice Chancellor Professor Justice Nyamangara said.
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The irrigation facilities comprise six centre pivots with a total capacity to irrigate 260 hectares.
Already, MUAST is one of the beneficiaries of the Muchekeranwa Dam in Marondera Rural and has started constructing a 2,1km main water supply line from the recently commissioned dam to a reservoir in the park.
The farm also recently took delivery of two brand new tractors, 1500L fertiliser spreader, 2000L 18m boom sprayer, five heavy duty generators and an 8 row monosem planter, all financed by the government.