Freedom Mutanda Post Correspondent
ETHANOL producing concern, Greenfuel has rolled out a community empowerment programme that will see 350 households receiving 0,5ha plots under irrigation in different villages around Chipinge South constituency where the company operates.
In a show of commitment to empowerment of locals, the company officially handed over the 0,5ha plots to some of the beneficiaries on Wednesday at a colourful ceremony held at the company premises.
Minister of State for Manicaland Affairs Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba, officiated at the event where 350 households from Mutumburi, Muyondozi, Vhutuza, Manyanga, Masunde and Chisumbanje Villages received the 0,5ha plots. In her speech during the handover ceremony, Dr Gwaradzimba said she had heard that there were some complaints concerning Greenfuel operations but she felt the community and the company ought to co-exist as the ethanol project was of strategic importance to the Government.
“It is a fact that the ethanol project has gone a long way in alleviating fuel shortages. Fuel makes the economy tick. We have to appreciate the good work that GreenFuel is doing. As Government we know that people are very important but at the same time we want development,’’ she said. I thank Greenfuel for empowering the people. Irrigation will put an end to starvation. Our MP, Cde EnockPorusingazi, has pleaded with Government for food aid and we will not let people down but this irrigation project will greatly alleviate food shortages. It should be stated that beneficiaries must be bonafide residents of this area. I am told there would be drip irrigation for future beneficiaries and that’s a step in the right direction,’’ Dr Gwaradzimba said.
Provincial chairperson of the Command Agriculture, Mrs Phillipa Rwambiwa urged the farmers to work hard adding that Chisumbanje weather was suitable for maize growing.
“Let’s maintain the farm. One may brush aside 0,5ha as insignificant but importantly, watch ants as they work and you would see why it is important to work hard. Be warned that there is the fall army worm. It is crucial to work with Arex officers,’’ she said.
Speaking at the same function, Greenfuel representative, Miss Merit Rumema, said the company had moved a gear up and provided the beneficiaries with seeds and fertiliser.
“In the first and second phases we gave the irrigable land and did not give the farmers help in these areas. However, this time around, we have put in place two demonstration plots which are going to be manned by Arex officers who in turn will give technical help to the farmers,’’ she said.
“Not everyone will benefit at once but this is a process but the company will continue to give plots until the whole list is exhausted. More acres will soon be availed to the villagers,’’ she said.
Treasurer of the local interim committee, Cde James Maposa, said the community has welcomed the project saying it is of national importance and also believed that the people should benefit more from the electricity that GreenFuel produces.
“You can see that there are no more trees around here. Why doesn’t Greenfuel help the surrounding community with electricity as the firewood shortage is biting hard?’’ he asked.
Mr Tobias Danda Mutumburi, a village head, welcomed the company’s initiative.
“We hope to see more good things coming from this initiative,’’ he said.