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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Kilimanjaro project phase 2 launched

Story by Gay Matambo

THE government has been commended for facilitating the involvement of local farmers in the sugarcane value chain to stimulate socio-economic growth.

This follows the issuance of land permits to over 100 beneficiaries of the Kilimanjaro Phase 2 project in Tugwi Mukosi and Triangle, in Masvingo province this Friday.

Under the Kilimanjaro Phase 2 project which was launched this Friday by the Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Minister, Dr Anxious Masuka, 116 local farmers who include traditional leaders, youths and war veterans were allocated sugarcane plots in Triangle Ranch’s Kamba Block and Hippo Valley Kilimanjaro Block covering close to 2280 hectares.

The initiative comes at a time when the government is advancing the adoption of a business approach by agriculture sector players.

Chief Neromwe said, “I want to thank President ED Mnangagwa for allocating land to us, you know it’s not easy to just wake up from dust to becoming a businessman through farming, we are grateful.”

“As a young woman, I used to think only men could venture into the sugarcane farming business but I’m happy to be part of the beneficiaries of the project,” said a farmer.

A youth farmer said “To have a leadership that is thoughtful to our needs as youths is commendable. I think the Second Republic inclusive of the President himself has managed to set up the Kilimanjaro Trust so that we benefit. We are very much appreciative of that as youths in Zimbabwe.”

The Kilimanjaro project is being developed and managed by Tongaat Hulett Zimbabwe on a cost-recovery basis for the benefit of the new local farmers who have been awarded land permits by the government.

Tongaat Hulett Zimbabwe chief executive officer, Mr Aiden Mhere said, “The average cost of developing a hectare of sugarcane is about US$10,000 per hectare. Therefore, for the 3300 hectares that have been developed under the Kilimanjaro project, we are looking at approximately 33 million dollars. With the 700 hectares that have been developed, it’s anywhere between 40 to 50 million. This is a considerable investment and I’m hoping that the 116 beneficiaries who have been given this land will certainly be very proud.”

Masvingo Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Honourable Ezra Chadzamira said the project is expected to create employment while luring investment to the province through the opening of agriculture support industries.

“We want to thank the President, Dr ED Mnangagwa for rolling out this national project. It benefits local farmers who cannot venture into commercial farming. It will benefit the community in terms of employment opportunities as over 2000 are expected to be employed in the 4000-hectare scheme. 4 million United States Dollars will also be generated as revenue,” he said.

Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, Dr Anxious Masuka weighed in saying the development demonstrates the tangible results of the public and private sector partnership for the transformation and development of the country’s economy.

“I am reliably informed that the quota system was considered in this land allocation as guided by the Land Policies and Procedures that is the youths, women, war veterans, security and civil servants were considered. The seven Chiefs were given priority to nominate beneficiaries under the guidance of the Chiredzi District Land Committee. Through PPPs, hundreds of people will be provided with the necessary infrastructure to allow sustainable farming,” he said.

The Kilimanjaro Project was launched by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in 2021 as part of the Second Republic’s commitment to increase sugar output and foreign currency earnings in Zimbabwe

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