SAZ drafts standards for tractors, shelling machinery
MASVINGO – The Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ) in collaboration with the Department of Agricultural Engineering and Mechanisation in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Development has drafted mechanisation standards required for tractors, threshers and shellers in Zimbabwe that are expected to be in place before the end of this year.
This is the first time that the country is going to have certified standards for agricultural engineering equipment and the key purpose of the standards is to protect farmers against substandard equipment, said Clopas Rukuni, the Director of the Department of Agricultural Engineering and Mechanisation.
He said this at Chevron, a Regency Group hotel where the Department held a workshop last week to consult stakeholders (farmers, manufactures and suppliers) on the draft standards before they are approved and published. The Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ) and the Department are holding the consultative meetings countrywide and the Chevron workshop was attended by 38 delegates. The consultation will be completed before the end of this month.
The draft standards were prepared by a technical committee on tractors and threshing and shelling equipment. The drafts are separate with one for tractors falling under ZWS 1102:2023 and the sheller and threshers cited as Zimbabwe Standard ZWS 1092:2023.
Some stakeholders present were Environmental Management Agency (EMA), Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) and Department of Irrigation among others.
Rukuni told The Mirror that there are certified standards for many products in the country and none for tractors, threshers and shellers that are imported into Zimbabwe.
This leaves farmers vulnerable to substandard equipment that is not durable and may not last to pay for themselves. The certified standards are therefore to protect farmers and to give manufacturers guidelines, said Rukuni.
“The standards that we have come up with address specific challenges that farmers face with tractors, threshers and shelling equipment and it is important in this day and age to have standards.
“Manufacturers produce similar equipment but which varying specifications here and there. We must therefore develop standards which guide farmers in terms of selection and choosing equipment to buy.
“Standards guide manufacturers in producing equipment that is uniform, compatible, durable and reliable and this is one way of improving services to the farmer and improves quality in line with Vision 2030.
“As a way forward we will identify other engineering areas where standards and certification is required,” said Rukuni.
The deputy director for Agricultural Engineering and Mechanisation, Tirivangani Koza said the workshop brought together stakeholders involved in the manufacture and use of agricultural equipment and machinery.
He said after completing the consultative meetings, final drafts will be compiled and standards published through SAZ.
Koza said the standards once approved will oblige whoever is going to import or manufacture agricultural equipment and tractors into the country to meet those standards.
“The ministry will then have a document that will support the industry for the manufacture and importation of tractors coming into the country so that they are compatible with what farmers expect in terms of technical performance,” he said.
He added that importing equipment with standards of certain countries have challenges of not being compatible
He said standardisation will help in the ease of procurement of spare parts.
He added that two other standards which include grain storage facility and soil conservation (contour construction) are expected to be completed by December this year.
We are targeting at least four standards this year. The two already drafted standards on tractors and shellers should be completed by end of june this year final. We are also going to develop standards on grain storage facility and one on soil conservation (contour construction).
He added that they are left with consultation workshops for Manicaland and Mashonaland West.
In his presentation, SAZ Standards Development Information and Training offial, Phillip Chindara said standards reduce product liability risk and also provide clarity about the properties of a product.