CHIREDZI - Sugar grower Tongaat Hullet it is committed to help government develop 25000 hectares of irrigated farmland despite continued politically-motivated attempts to seize vast parts of its productive land, the company's corporate affairs and communications manager Adelaide Chikinguru has said.
The company intends to make full use of Tokwe Mukosi Dam to increase the participation of indigenous farmers in agriculture.
"As an initial step to give impetus to the Tokwe-Mukorsi project - a project of national importance - Tongaat Hulett proposes the early development of some 17 000 hectares under sugar cane for out-grower farmers with cane being delivered to the existing two mills," said Chikunguru.
She said more than 8 000 people will be employed at the plantations which the company intends to develop for out-grower farmers to complement its current programme to develop 4000 ha under the Kilimanjalo Project set for over 200 new farmers.
"The new sugar cane development project has a potential to resettle a further 850 new out-growers and generate direct employment for about 8 000 Zimbabweans.
"Tongaat Hulett proposes to kick start the project through the development of 2 000 ha under Phase One for out-growers. However, a total of 25 000 hectares can be developed for crop production around the Tokwe - Mukorsi project," Chikunguru said.
Currently the company has a milling capacity of cane grown from 75 000 ha but it is only servicing the existing 45 000 ha.
Chikunguru said the development will double the current number of out-grower farmers.
Asked about the progress made in the implementation of the Kilimanjalo Project, Chikunguru said 200 ha have already been developed since 2014 and the remainder would be finished by 2019.business