Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
Top Chipinge coffee farmer and owner of Farfell Estates, Mr Richard Le Vieux, has thanked President Mnangagwa for resolving the ownership dispute of a portion of the farm, a development that has enabled exports of the crop and other produce to continue.
Mr Le Vieux expressed his gratitude when he appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Lands, Agriculture, Rural Resettlement, Water and Climate chaired by Nembudziya legislator Cde Justice Mayor Wadyajena.
The farm was at the centre of a wrangle pitting Mr Le Vieux, who also grows macadamia nuts and avocados for exports at the estate, and indigenous farmer Mr Remembrance Mbudzana.
“I want to say His Excellency the President and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have acted swiftly to address the situation of destabilisation of a successful export enterprise and I want to go on record thanking them for that, not for me but for the country and the business which is an employer and exporter, and an important economic actor in that remote place,” he said.
“I am glad to report to everybody here today that the situation at the estate is calm and exports are going full speed and we can now plan further investments beyond the investments which we have made which amount to millions and I am not talking about investments made 20 years ago, but like our avocado factory that was only made three years ago.
“So the resolution of this issue means we can continue with our investments and continue with our growth.”
Mr Le Vieux said Mozambican Agriculture had visited his estate and offered him land to establish a similar venture in that country.
“I have so far declined the offer to invest in Mozambique because if I say yes I will have to start the investments there once again,” said Mr Le Vieux.
Mr Mbudzana had been offered a portion of the estate (Lot 1) but after considering the investments and production currently taking place, Government decided to revoke the offer letter and find him alternative land.
Cabinet resolved and directed that Mr Le Vieux be issued with an offer letter for his portion of Farfell Coffee Estates, that is Lot 2 (220 hactares) in keeping with the Government framework of maximum farm sizes and that if he so wishes, he be issued with an appropriate lease agreement with respect to Lot 1, so as to guarantee continuity of the very productive and strategic commercial operations currently taking place at Lot 1.
Cabinet also resolved that the offer letter of Lot 1 (229 hectares) to Mr Mbudzana be consequently revoked and that he be considered for land allocation in other available areas in Chipinge district.