By Anyway Yotamu in Chiredzi
President Mnangagwa on Saturday commissioned a US$40 million sugarcane project which is expected to create more than 2 000 jobs in the country.
In a joint venture between Government, Tongaat Huletts, and a consortium of local banks, the Project Kilimanjaro will see 4 000 hectares of virgin land being turned into sugarcane plantations for allocation to indigenous farmers on a cost recovery basis deal.
The project is expected to be completed by end of 2020 and will produce an additional more than 45 000 tonnes of sugar per year.
Speaking after the Kilimanjaro Project tour, President Mnangagwa said Government will continue to create a conducive business environment for the private sector .
“We must create an environment where rights are obeyed, where rights are recognised.
“It is most encouraging that our ongoing reform efforts have resulted in our country moving 15 places up in the recent global ease of doing business ranking index.”
The President said the Project Kilimanjaro is a good example of a public-private partnership deals so far.
While Government avails land and water resources, Tongaat Huletts and some Consortium of banks provide capital and technical skills.
President Mnangagwa also spoke about land quarrels.
“There shouldn’t be any quarrels over land between Tongaat Huletts, traditional leaders and the Masvingo provincial leadership. The land belongs to the State, which I lead,” said President Mnangagwa.
“We agreed to develop 4 000ha with Tongaat and I want the project to be completed. No one, I repeat no one, should say I have the right to be there. We are all Zimbabweans, we must follow procedure to get state land.”
President Mnangagwa urged Tongaat to expand its operations for the benefit of the economy of the country .
The President said the Lowveld and areas such as Kanyemba, Kariba and Binga that are close to water bodies should aim for high agricultural output by taking advantage of the nearby rivers and dams.
Tongaat Hullet Chief Executive Officer Mr Gavin Hudson said his company was committed to partnering Government in producing sugar cane.
“We are very happy with the commitment coming from Government on 99-year leases,
Our main focus is not really on who has what land, but on improving yields so that we grow the sugar industry,” said Mr Hudson.
Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister, Rrtd Chief Air Marshal Perrance Shiri, said Masvingo has the potential to spearhead growth through agriculture as Tugwi-Mukosi Dam is a giant water body which can successfully be harnessed for irrigation.
President Mnangagwa also toured the winter maize project in Triangle, where Tongaat has close to 300ha of maize crop.