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    Tuesday, 4 September 2018

    New indigenous farmers face 70% drop in sugarcane output


    MORRIS BISHI
    CHIREDZI BUREAU

    CHIREDZI – Some 210 indigenous farmers settled on 4 000 hectares of Tongaaat Hullet estate in Chiredzi two years ago have neglected their fields in the past year to the extent that experts predict a 70% drop in susugar production from the same fields.
     Sources told The Mirror that two reasons why production is going to drop sharply is because these farmers did not invest back onto the land after receiving average earnings of $50 000 from the sugarcane they harvested from Tongaat's fields and sold to the same company. They said that the new farmers avoided buying inputs because they are insecure on the land as their settlement on Tongaat land is being contested.
    Masvingo City Council Commission chairman Goddard Dunira's plot has been cited as one of those with the poorest sugarcane crop. Dunira is the nephew of Masvingo Minister of State Josiah Hungwe.
    The farmers also did not have enough knowledge and skills to grow sugarcane.
    The Mirror toured the fields which are in Hippo Valley`s sections 6, 7 and witnessed poor cane which in many cases is not suitable for harvesting. This is despite that these farmers were allocated plots in Tongaat's estate that has the richest soils.
    A senior Tongaat Hulett employee who declined to be named said that it was most probable that the yields will go down by 70%.
    Former Chiredzi West MP Darlington Chiwa described the situation as a disaster.
    "A good example of a neglected sugarcane field which is in Section 6 of Hippo Valley is owned by politician Goddart Dunira. The field has what we call smart cane which is dangerous and not harvestable. That is what most of the fields in the area look like. Zanu PF is killing the sugar industry due to its endless land redistribution programs targeted at enriching the same people over and over again.
    "I tried to have these people evicted during my tenure as MP and even brought former president Mugabe here but these greedy politicians blocked my efforts" said Chiwa.
    Dunira said there was a lot of uncertainity regarding our status since it was said we will be removed. We hope this year we  will mantain our fields when asked for a comment.
    A war veteran who is a beneficiary of the program said he did not maintain his field despite getting over $50000 last year because he fears Government will repossess the land. He agreed that most of the fields were in a bad state and the beneficiaries are not worried since they are also beneficiaries in other schemes like in the dry land. 

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