Home Agriculture Black farmers contribute 40% of sugarcane delivered to mills annually

Black farmers contribute 40% of sugarcane delivered to mills annually

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Story by Gay Matambo

THE land question saw the country’s heroes and heroines who are being celebrated this month taking up arms for the majority to own the means of production.

Never in the history of Zimbabwe has the government gone all out to empower its people in the manner it has done with the land reform programme which has benefitted hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans, including war veterans, who liberated the country from colonial bondage.

Formerly a preserve of white commercial farmers and two South Africa-owned firms, Hippo Valley and Triangle Limited, the sugar cane estates in the low veld are now a source of living for out-grower farmers including war veterans whose toil and sacrifice during the liberation struggle is being rewarded.

Proud war veterans who were allocated sugarcane farms say they are now enjoying the fruits of liberating the country from colonial rule.

“Through the land reform programme, we are living a better life. I have bought a crane, a tractor, houses and cars through growing sugarcane,” said war veteran, Cde Shima Masenga.

War collaborator, Cde Asamu Tagwireyi said, “The land reform programme is the best empowerment programme that the government has done for its people. I’m living a very good life, better than the life I lived before the programme.”

“We are grateful to be part of the beneficiaries of what we fought for. Unfortunately, not all of us benefitted under the land reform programme but we hope the government will address that even the war veterans who died in the struggle, I’m sure they are happy that land is in the hands of black farmers,” added war veteran, Cde Felix Sairai.

While some of the beneficiaries have been criticised for failing to meet expectations, sugarcane out-growers are contributing 40% of sugarcane delivered to Hippo Valley and Triangle mills annually.

“I couldn’t have asked for any better empowerment than the land reform programme. Yes, when we got into the sugarcane farms it was tough. We didn’t have the expertise on how to grow sugarcane, but now we are contributing meaningfully to the sugar production sector as out growers,” said another war veteran, Cde Biggie Muroza.

This year’s Heroes Day commemorations come at a time when the country’s agriculture sector has recorded significant growth in the tobacco, horticulture, livestock, and cotton value chains, while the nation is also basking in wheat self-sufficiency.