CHIREDZI- In a move that will ease transport challenges, Mkwasine farmers recently purchased a state of the art motorized grader.
Ever since Tongaat Hullet Zimbabwe (THZ) seized operations in Mkwasine Estates in 2006 following the allocation of all sugarcane plots in the area to A2 farmers during the land reform programme, the new farmers have been struggling to transport their produce to mills and loading zones due to poor road networks which used to be serviced by THZ.
With the continuous deterioration of infrastructure in Mkwasine Estates due to vandalism and lack of renovations coupled with bad roads, in 2019, farmers in Mkwasine embarked on a developmental structure called Mkwasine Management Committee (MCC) aimed at improving infrastructure including roads in Mkwasine Estate using contributions from farmers.
Speaking during the commissioning of the motorized grader at Mkwasine Country Club recently, MMC Secretary General Blessing Mahwerera said the purchase of the US$ 130 000 motorized grader was motivated by high costs involved in contracting independent companies to refurbish their roads.
“We initially had an agreement with Chiredzi Rural District Council (CRDC) to repair roads at a cost and we were supposed to repair close to 57 kilometres. Only 34 km were graded. We also invited companies to bid for 105 kilometres, with the least bidder calling for US$ 421 000 which we even failed to get 10 percent of it for the works to start.
“We then came up with an idea to raise funds to purchase our own grader, which we are witnessing today and it will go a long way in developing our roads and avoid cane spillage, which was sucking farmers day in day out,” said Mahwerera.
Chiredzi District Development Coordinator (DDC) Lovemore Chisema who was the guest of honour at the occasion applauded farmers for coming together to develop their environs as nobody was going to do so for them.
“This is a very good initiative as envisaged with the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1). Nyika Inovakwa Nevene vayo, nobody was going to come and develop your area as it is your sole mandate. Yes, people talked a lot but now they have seen the value of their money. You now have the power to bid for works in various companies as you now boast of owning a yellow machine.
“We heard a lot of speculation from farmers that you are misusing their money. These allegations should be evidence based because anyone anywhere can say that. I am happy that I have witnessed that you were spending the money but for the goodness of farmers,” said Chisema.