Freeman Razemba recently in Chisumbanje
Green Fuel Private Limited recently handed over 20 hectares of irrigated plots to the Chisumbanje community as part of the first phase of a project to develop 200-300ha of land this year. This comes after the company made a commitment to develop 10 percent of all land under sugarcane for the community.
The 38 plots were handed over by the outgoing Green Fuel community relations manager Mr Rapahel Zuze to the beneficiaries on behalf of the company’s general manager Mr Conrad Rautenbach.
He also handed over maize seed, fertilisers and a small dam to be utilised by the community.
Mr Zuze has since been replaced by Ms Merit Rumema. He apologised to the villagers for taking long to handover the land and urged the community to continue working with the company.
“Green Fuel has a robust corporate social responsibility programme that is immensely benefiting the local community, centred on the principal of sustainable development,” he said.
The irrigation schemes developed in Chisumbanje are the hallmark of this programme and provide small-scale farmers with access to irrigation farming year-round.
“At the inception of the ethanol project, the company made a commitment to develop 10 percent of all land under sugarcane in Chisumbanje for the community and thus far, they have honoured this.”
Mr Zuze said to date, over 1 100ha of land had been developed for the community in Chisumbanje at a cost of $11 million.
He said of this, 500ha of irrigated plots had been developed for over 1 000 small-scale farmers, ensuring consistent availability of water in an area that receives little annual rainfall.
“The water is pumped year round at the cost of the company and as a result, each farmer can produce up to three cash crops per year, said Mr Zuze.
A further 250ha have been developed for war veteran farmers and 410ha for settler farmers, all of whom are now out-growers for the company and as such, receive consistent support and assistance.
“In addition, at the commencement of the ethanol project, a massive infrastructure rehabilitation programme was undertaken to revive the water works and dilapidated irrigation schemes at the Middle Sabi Estate.
“Seventy eight A2 farmers came online to draw water along the canal, along with the 12 small-scale irrigation schemes which stretch over 1 700ha and support almost 2 300 farmers.”
Ms Rumema said the company continued to support the schemes and a community irrigation schemes department had been created to assist with their day-to-day needs in terms of water conveyance.
“As the sugarcane estates continue to expand, the company will continue to honour its undertaking by developing further land for the community,” she said.