President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Thursday extolled United States President Donald Trump and his government for letting an American company, John Deere Agriculture World Wide sell farming equipment to Zimbabwe in spite of the damaged relationship between the two countries.
Speaking during the commissioning of a US$51 million farm mechanisation facility in Harare, President Mnangagwa said when he met Mark von Pentz, the company’s president in 2018, he was sceptical that a deal could materialise. He said:
By way of background, on 7th November 2018, I was pleased to receive the president of John Deere Agricultural World Wide Mark von Pentz who paid me a courtesy call at my Munhumutapa offices.
I was sceptical at the time because they are based in America and I think you can appreciate the reason why.
But I am extremely pleased that today we stand here, two years down the line, with the evidence of the private sector from America co-operating with us in our endeavour to modernise and mechanise our economy.
For that, we need to send a message of gratitude to President Donald Trump and his administration for this gesture.
Under the US$51 million deal, Zimbabwe will import 1 300 tractors, 80 combine harvesters, 600 planters, 200 Disc Harrows, 100 boom sprayers and 100 trailers from America.
United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Brian Nichols was present at the event. He stressed the importance of market-based policies, the rule of law and the involvement of the private sector for the agriculture sector to take off.