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Chombo farm grab quakes foreign partner

by Staff reporter
28 Jan 2022 at 05:59hrs | Views
A COMMERCIAL farm linked to former Finance minister Ignatius Chombo in Mashonaland West province has been earmarked for acquisition, NewsDay has learnt.

New Alan Grange Farm in Raffingora is a joint venture project between Chombo and a foreign investor, Paperhole Investments (PHI).

Agriculture minister Anxious Masuka recently announced plans to seize the farm and reallocate it.

PHI is now seeking President Emmerson Mnangagwa's intervention to stop the planned seizure.

The investor expressed fear that its multi-million investments could go down the drain.

PHI, which is into primary agriculture, started investing at the farm in 2016.

In a statement, PHI said plans to seize the farm "are unsettling" for the new investor who has "taken three years of careful management to realise the full potential of the farm" since it is "a difficult farm".

PHI said it had so far cleared 104 hectares of virgin land, while other long-term investment plans were under discussion.

"Five hundred and four hectares (of the land is) under pivot being used for both a fully-irrigated summer programme and a fully-irrigated winter programme. (This) includes the recently cleared 104 hectares of land that has been fully equipped in the last 12 months," PHI said in a statement seen by NewsDay.

It said it incorporated an "existing 70ha fixed plot, a 50ha fixed pivot and a 40ha towable pivot into its programme," adding that it was responsible for fully equipping the operations with tractors and machinery, "all of which were purchased new and have been dedicated to the farming operations on this farm".

PHI indicated that this season, it had put 340ha under commercial maize, 100ha (seed soyabeans) and 60ha (commercially grown cover crops).

It said for the winter season, it planned to put 200ha under potatoes and 300ha under wheat.

The investor said it was in discussions with Chombo to plant 54 hectares of bananas over the next three years.

"With these plans in mind, PHI is contemplating writing to Mnangagwa over the decision to grab the farm," it said.

Masuka's decision to seize the farm has raised questions over government's commitment to lure investment into the country.

Source - NewsDay Zimbabwe