Monday, 10 August 2020

ZANU PF ABANDONS $37,8M SUGARCANE PROJECT


Alleged poor management has seen members of Zanu PF Women’s League abandoning a RTGS$37,8m sugarcane project in Hippo Valley barely three years after they started farming.

The venture saw the Women’s League being allocated 50 hectares of land that already had a crop grown and tendered by Tongaat Hulett in 2017.

Sources said the proceeds of the harvest to the tune of about US$300 000 were misused leading to squabbles among stakeholders and a collapse of the project.

Zanu PF Masvingo Province Women`s League Chairperson Alignia Samson confirmed to The Mirror that the plot is not active with harvest only expected to come from a small portion of the land. 

The project is being run under a Zanu PF company called Mandowa Trading. Sources said there was a bid by Zanu PF to avoid detection of its farming activities on an estate developed using funds from the European Union (EU).

EU funds developed the Kilimanjaro Project under Canelands Trust.

Efforts to get a comment from the director of Mandowa Trading Oliver Mandipaka were fruitless. Samson however, dismissed allegations of squabbles in the league as baseless and blamed a poor irrigation system for the problems.
“We have water challenges; we need a new pump to enable us to water the whole field. There is high competition for water by farmers who share a single dam in the area and our field is being affected by that.

“There is nothing like squabbles. The project is being run at national level and plans are at an advanced stage to rectify the problem,” said Samson.

Sources within the party said the problem started after proceeds from the first and second harvests of sugarcane which was planted by Tongaat Hulett were abused.

They said the issue raised divisions with party members in Chiredzi district calling for the registration of the field in their names.

What is happening at the plot is similar to what is happening at the plots of most new farmers who were given sugarcane plots in Hippo Valley and Triangle before the death of the then Minister of State for Masvingo Shuvai Mahofa in 2017.

Poor farming methods coupled with failure to return proceeds into the field by the new farmers has affected the sugar output of the whole industry. Masvingo Mirror

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