By Jotham Gutsa
GREEN FUEL through its robust corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme, last Wednesday handed over drip irrigation equipment and plots to villagers in Chisumbanje.
Chisumbanje lies under region 5 and receives erratic rains, hence Green Fuel’s consistent support to small-scale farmers.
Provincial Affairs and Devolution minister for Manicaland Nokuthula Matsikenyere said government supports the initiative taken by Green Fuel and ARDA to support Chisumbanje’s socio-economic transformation agenda.
“Chipinge South region receives erratic and inadequate precipitation and the recent farming season was characterised by low rainfall,” Matsikenyere said.
“I appreciate that food security in this region is compromised.
“We, therefore, thank and celebrate Green Fuel for stepping up by developing this irrigation scheme, which will promote economic development, production and food security among other things.”
The Green Fuel-supported irrigation scheme is one of the biggest in the country.
“It is my understanding that the company has resolved to develop the handover 10% of all land it develops for the benefit of the community in the form of irrigated plots,” Matsikenyere said.
Chipinge South MP Enock Porusingazi urged beneficiaries and the community at large to maximise on the initiative to sustain themselves economically.
“Farm in these plots so that you send children to school and build better houses to stay,” Porusingazi said.
“I am kindly asking the beneficiaries not to sell the inputs they got here but must go in the field and sustain themselves.
“Lets embrace the technology and equipment we see here at the irrigation scheme.
“I have never seen it anywhere else except in commercial farming, so lets stop vandalism of this drip equipment.
“We need to work together and thank Green Fuel for this initiative and I hope this will not stop here, but be a national cause.”
Green Fuel public relations manager Merit Rumema doused speculation that there was a standoff between the company and the community on the issue of land ownership.
“The biggest of our CSR projects is irrigation schemes. As a company that is located inside a community and for us to live in harmony with the people and be a responsible corporate we have to do these initiatives [CSR projects],” Rumema said.
“One of the resolutions or commitments that Green Fuel made, of all the land put under sugar cane, 10% will be developed as irrigation schemes, which is a commitment to help the community as Chisumbanje lies under region 5, which is characterised by sporadic rains.
“Initially there was resistance when Green Fuel took over as villages would cry that they used to farm on large tracts of land, but they have realised that the yield in one acre supported by drip irrigation realises higher yields so there is a huge demand of these irrigation schemes.”
Among the beneficiaries of the drip irrigation scheme was Sophia Bengesu, mother to law academic and politician Lovemore Madhuku who thanked Green Fuel and the government for being transparent in the selection process and for educating the community on the importance of sustaining themselves and their families.