FORMER Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Dr Joseph Made allegedly looted farm equipment and inputs worth millions of dollars, which he hid at his Tara Farm in Headlands, Manicaland Province.
The implements include 10 centre pivots, seven brand new tractors, seven planters, three ridgers, two harrows, six generators and four pumps. Also discovered at the farm were wheelchairs, expired maize seed, 600 bags of blend D fertiliser, 600 bags of urea, expired drugs and walking aids.
The Makoni District lands committee masterminded an inspection of farms belonging to politicians and in the process discovered the loot. Makoni District assistant administrator Mr Pasttense Tarondwa claimed the equipment was collected between 2007 and 2009.
It has been lying idle.
“We visited Tara Farm and discovered that Dr Joseph Made is not on the ground. Only his manager and 19 workers, who are bitter that they have not been paid for the past 12 months, are utilising 30ha. He owns 480 head of cattle and 90 goats,” said Mr Tarondwa.
“As we toured the farm we discovered lots of equipment that has been lying idle since 2007. Some of it is worn out. The equipment includes brand new irrigation pipes, seven tractors, seven state-of-the-art planters, three ridgers, disc harrows and 10 centre pivots. According to the farm manager, the equipment was delivered at the farm in 2007,” he said.
“We also discovered six state-of-the-art generators, each with capacity to light the whole of Rusape. There were also four brand new pumps. When we visited the warehouse we found at least 600 bags of blend D fertiliser, 630 bags of urea, brand new boxed wheelchairs, bicycle units, expired medical equipment, expired seed close to two tonnes and dated 2008, and rolls of barbed wire,” said Mr Tarondwa.
“Our visit was not targeted at Tara Farm. We are visiting all farms in the district. We just bumped into them as we toured the farm to gauge its capacity utilisation and size with a view to make recommendations to have those farms exceeding 400ha downsized,” said Mr Tarondwa.
The farm is one of the biggest in Manicaland Province.
“Tara Farm is an annexation of two properties — Tara of Helenvale and Causeway of Tara, making it one of the biggest farms in Manicaland at 1 200 hectares, instead of the recommended 400ha,” he said.
Apart from Tara Farm, the committee, which included members of the Joint Operations Command (JOC), also visited the Remaining Extension of Maidstone, belonging to former Manicaland Governor Cde Tinaye Chigudu.
The farm exceeds the size cap. It was being leased out to one Mr Loubscher.
“The RE of Maidstone Farm measures 755ha, and we discovered that only 100ha was being utilised. It is not Mr Chigudu who is utilising that farm, but one white farmer called Loubsher,” he said.
The committee said Mona Farm, owned by Christine Murembwe, Lorn Cop, owned by Mr Didymus Mutasa and Morester Farm owned by Mr Mike Nyabadza, also exceed set farm sizes, are underutilised and being leased.
“We also visited Lorn Cop Farm and discovered that Mr Mutasa is not the one using the farm, but a white farmer Mr Dennis Chapman.
The farm is 700ha and only 290ha are being utilised. The farm is also an annexation of three properties, namely Lorn Cop, Sunrise, and the late Cde Tungamirai’s farm,” said Mr Tarondwa.
Some of the farms in Manicaland are as big as 3 000 hectares.
The maximum farm size in Natural Region One was pegged at 250ha, Region Two 400ha, Region Three 500ha, Regions Four and Five 1 000ha and 2 000ha, respectively.
Efforts to get a comment from Dr Made were fruitless yesterday.