A total of 116 farmers who are going to be part of the Kilimanjaro sugarcane farming project in Chiredzi were recently granted permits, at Tugwi Mukosi as part of government’s efforts to promote rural transformation, socio economic growth and development.
Speaking at the handover ceremony, Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Dr Anxious Masuka said 116 farmers were going to be beneficiaries of the 3 000ha of land availed so far at Tongaat Hulett.
“This is not about land reform only where we give people pieces of land, this is an investment, so this model is different from the jambanja era where we gave you land and the assets there, this is land that has never been utilized, it is land that we are investing in and opening,” said Masuka.
Masuka said government was going to chip in with funding as well for the farmers as sugarcane farming is resource intensive.
“Because sugarcane is a resource intensive enterprise, the President already has a model to give you the money so you are getting the land and the money for the investment. Tongaat Hullet has agreed to assist us to raise the resources required to open this land,” said Masuka.
Masvingo farmers will get 50 percent of the land, while 40 percent will be distributed among the 10 provinces and the remaining 10 percent is reserved for youths.
“50 percent of the plots will be given to the seven chiefs in the district who will choose their representatives from their areas to work in the plots.
“Ordinarily what happens when we give land, the minister of state for the province chairs the provincial lands committee and they consider applications that come through the district and the province and do allocations based on the waiting list but because sugarcane is unique we agreed that we needed all provinces to be represented.
“For the 50 percent that remains after giving the locals, the directive is 40 percent is shared equally among the 10 provinces, the remaining 10 percent is reserved for critical sectors that government selects and it has been given to the youths.
“That 10 percent it will be distributed between males and females and some of them will be children of war veterans especially the departed who are not here to enjoy the fruits of land reform but through their descendants they must being to enjoy that,” said Dr Masuka.
Minister of State for provincial affairs and devolution Ezra Chadzamira said the programme was crucial in the attainment of vision 2030 as it promotes a sustainable agriculture and empowers individuals.
“The sugarcane farming programme has been designed with the aim of promoting sustainable agriculture, empowering individuals and fostering economic prosperity thus playing a crucial role in the attainment of vision 2030.
“Through this initiative we seek to harness the incredible potential of our land while also creating avenues for employment, income generation and upliftment of our community, the permits received today represent more than just a piece of paper, they symbolize the trust and confidence placed in you to cultivate and nurture our land and protect our environment.
Tongaat Hulett officially opened the Kilimanjaro project in 2019 in partnership with the Zimbabwean government with the aim of improving land productivity by developing 4 000 ha of virgin land for sugarcane farming.