Friday, November 04, 2011

Zimbabwe Vice-President Mujuru Launches US$30million Sugarcane Project

VP Mujuru launches US$30m sugarcane project

Saturday, 05 November 2011 00:00
Zimbabwe Herald
Masvingo Bureau

VICE President Joice Mujuru yesterday officially launched the US$30 million Successful Rural Sugar Cane Farming Community (FUSCO) programme that will benefit nearly 1 000 resettled sugarcane farmers in Chiredzi.

Under the FUSCO project that was initiated by Lowveld sugar milling giant, Tongaat Hullet in Zimbabwe and BancABC, resettled cane farmers from Hippo Valley, Triangle and Mkwasine Estates will get financial and material assistance.

The farmers will be supported with technology and extension services to improve sugar cane production.

VP Mujuru, who is the patron of resettled sugar cane farmers in Chiredzi, said at the launch of the project at Mkwasine Estates, that farmers should repay loans.

"Today we are witnessing a very important project as a catalyst in the promotion of meaningful and empowering development in the Lowveld region," she said.

"We are here to celebrate the revival of the sugar cane business in our rural communities and demonstrate that farming is imperative to securing sustainable food security and equitable socio-economic advancement in Zimbabwe," Cde Mujuru said.

She urged farmers to desist from a habit of diverting loans meant for farming to other uses saying Zimbabwe's agricultural sector could only develop if farmers put maximum efforts on their operations.

She warned those not fully using their land that Government will take action against them since they were frustrating Zimbabwe's quest to revive its agricultural sector.

VP Mujuru hailed the partnership between the private sector, Government and farmers, saying such mutually beneficial co-operation had engendered initiatives such as the FUSCO project.

She called on Zimbabwean farmers to shift from subsistence farming.

VP Mujuru said the envisaged completion of Tokwe Murkosi Dam in southern Masvingo would enhance sugar cane irrigation in the Lowveld.

The FUSCO project, will run for the next four years, will result in resettled farmers getting loans to increase sugar cane production from 488 000 metric tonnes to over 1,4 million metric tonnes.

The total land area under sugar cane would increase from 9 100 hectares to 16 000 hectares.

Tongaat Hullet managing director, Mr Sydney Mutsambiwa, said the FUSCO project will create more jobs.

FUSCO would serve as a pilot project to inspire growth and development of the agricultural sector in Zimbabwe.

The official launch of the project was witnessed by thousands of resettled sugar cane farmers, traditional leaders and top government officials.

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