Govt engages investor to grow Lucerne grass

By ZBC Reporter
THE government has engaged a private investor to grow Lucerne grass in Chiredzi, a development that will boost livestock production in the Lowveld and earn the country foreign currency.
A 6 000 hectare piece of land has been identified in Chiredzi to grow the lucerne grass, a move that has been said would ensure revival of the livestock sector.
Speaking to this news crew in Chiredzi, the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Cde July Moyo who was also acting as the Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement said the government remains committed to ensure revival of the economy through maximum utilization of land and in this case it has engaged private partners in a project that will ensure availability of stock feed for local and export market.
“We have identified development area and there is a company that has interests in growing lucerne in this area beyond Runde river. They want to put something like 6 000 hectares both for domestic and export market. Today we want to look at how we are going to engage the local community so that we see how we can work together,” he said.
Dendairy Managing Director, Darren Coetzee said though they will start with 6 000 hectares of land they are looking forward to expanding the project which will directly benefit the local community.
“We are into Lurcene farming and in Kwekwe we have got a similar project, we believe this area has the potential for lucerne production. This will help our livestock and dairy farmers and we believe if the project becomes a success we are looking forward to expanding it,” Coetzee said.
Lucerne grass is on-demand for the export market and Chiredzi is an ideal place its growth given high temperatures in the area said Agrico Managing Director Paul Kruger.
“Livestock production is one of the key pillars of Masvingo province’s economy and the area has been recording worrisome numbers of livestock deaths hence the timely long- term intervention by the government.”