Chiredzi RDC to engage debt collectors over sugarcane farmers
CHIREDZI – Small-scale sugarcane farmers are not paying their US$5 per hectare levy to Chiredzi Rural District Council and a decision has been made to rope in debt collectors if the farmers do not submit payment plans.
The 1 300 farmers collectively owe US$2 million, according to a report given by Chiredzi RDC chairman, Aspect Mashingaidze at council offices on Thursday. Some of the debts are outstanding since 2017.
The meeting was called to inform the sugarcane farmers that council has resolved to engage debt collectors.
Mashingaidze said that the situation was so bad that the local authority is now hamstrung and cannot carry out its duties.
The farmers were given until March 1, 2024, to submit their payment plans with the largest debtor owing US$2 100.
“Your payment plans must be in by March 1 or else you will deal with debt collectors.
“The development levy is meant to develop your areas and if you fail to pay it means council will be unable to carry out its duties,” said Mashingaidze.
The levy used to be US$1 per hectare.
The local authority’s accountant, Misheck Kutumba said it was difficult to maintain roads and provide water because of low coffers.
Zimbabwe Sugar Development Association (ZSDA) Royal chairperson Peter Haruzivishe said he was going to urge colleagues to pay the levy.
Mkwasine Sugarcane Farmers’ Association (MSFA) chairperson, Obert Maganda appreciated the engagement meeting and said he will also encourage farmers to pay their levies.