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» » » Chief Chilonga lauds Tongaat Hulett Smart Agriculture Programme


 Blessed Chauke

Chief Chilonga has applauded sugar producing giant, Tongaat Hulett Zimbabwe (THZ), for the drought mitigation Smart Agriculture Programme which the organization is implementing in some parts of the Lowveld.

The programme which is a partnership with the government, is a long term project which is aimed at cushioning people in Chiredzi from the effects of drought.

Speaking to TellZim News, Chief Chilonga born Tiyani Chilonga, said THZ’s initiative would help to make sure that the people of Chiredzi become food secure.

“As you know this area is usually hit by drought and we experience food shortages but we are happy Tongaat saw the need and came in to fill the gap.

“Food security has always been a cause for concern but with this project we are positive we will manage to secure food which is enough to sustain families in this area,” said Chief Chilonga.

He said the project has been a major success in the 2020-21 cropping season and that over 150 tonnes of maize had been harvested so far.

"The maize project is going very well and this year we harvested about 160- 180 tonnes of maize. We are now also harvesting the maize putting it into our granaries and some of the maize is still in the fields not yet to be harvested,” said Chief Chilonga.

In a statement, THZ said the project will not just end with the Chilonga community but will be extended to the company’s employees and also revealed that other companies like Mwenezana Estates and Triangle Ltd had come on board.

“The maize project is also targeting at providing food security to Tongaat Hulett employees. A total of 1 359.2 hectares is under maize and an estimated yield of 4 tonnes per hectare is expected which will translate to 5 436.8 tonnes.

"In 2017, 316.9 hectares were under maize and produced 1 388 tonnes of maize. In 2019, Triangle Ltd had 329.5 hectares under maize and produced a yield of 1 186 tonnes," reads the statement.

Chilonga Irrigation project is a Public Private Community Partnership (PPCP) which is aimed at enhancing food security at household level.

 

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