US$100 000 irrigation equipment rots at Mahofa farm

NKULUMANI MLAMBO


GUTU – A US$100 000 centre pivot brought in under the Government-run Brazil More Food for Africa Scheme and Pedstock Farm Mechanisation Scheme in 2015 is wasting away at the late Minister of State for Masvingo, Shuvai Mahofa’s Louder Farm in Gutu, The Mirror has established.

Agricultural experts said there are only 11 such centre pivots in Masvingo Province. Although the scheme was meant for communal farmers, the equipment ended up benefitting powerful Zanu PF politicians and the military leadership.

The Minister of State for Masvingo, Ezra Chadzamira said he will talk to Fungai Mahofa to find out why the equipment is lying idle.

The Mirror visited Mahofa’s Louder Farm which is 25km from Mpandawana Town along Gutu – Chatsworth Road this week on Tuesday and found tall grass growing in the fields where the towering pivot is pitched. The expansive farm in the prime agricultural area is derelict with only two herds of cattle on it.

There is totally no activity on the farm and Mahofa who lies at the Heroe’s acre after being declared a national heroine owns four farms in the province.

The farmhouse is unoccupied, the pivot’s wheels are wasting away because of long exposure to the sun. Neighbours who requested anonymity expressed disgust at Government’s neglect of such expensive State equipment bought on taxpayer’s money.

The Minister of State in the Office of the President and Cabinet in charge of monitoring special agriculture projects Davis Marapira who also immensely benefitted from Government schemes said he will find ways of assisting the Mahofa family.
Neighbours told The Mirror that the equipment was brought in 2015, two years before Mahofa died and it was never used. The equipment can irrigate up to 40 hectares of land in 24 hours.

Mahofa’s daughter Nyengeterai initially told The Mirror that the farm and the equipment on it are private property and none of the publication’s concern. She said that the newspaper should not be questioning the family on why it is not using the expensive centre pivot.

“Did I ask you whether you slept with your wife or not last night? Then the centre pivot is none of your business,” said Nyengeterai.

Zimbabwe is a net importer of food despite several multi-million-dollar agricultural schemes in place to support farmers.
In 2007/2008, the Reserve Bank under its then Governor, Dr Gideon Gono ran the US$200m Farm Mechanisation Scheme which once again saw powerful politicians benefitting but the equipment which was not paid for wasted away at their farms without being put to use. Although the equipment was given through loans, none of the beneficiaries has paid.

The Presidential Inputs Scheme is also given not on merit but along political lines and the inputs including fuel is always sold by the beneficiaries on the black market.

Mahofa has two sugarcane plots in Chiredzi and a Conservancy in the same area where she used to hunt wildlife and sell game meat.

“This centre pivot was delivered two years before Mahofa’s death, it was brand new and it has never been used since its installation. There are only two cattle at the farm and nothing is happening. The heroine’s young sister is the one staying at the farm house,” said a source.

Mahofa’s young sister who stays at the farm was not available when The Mirror tried to get a comment from her.

Notable figures from Masvingo who benefited from the Farm Mechanisation Scheme of 2007/2008 were Bishop Nehemiah Mutendi who allegedly received US$586 600-00, former Masvingo Governor, Willard Chiwewe got US$429 512-00, Josiah Hungwe got US$99 511-00 with Pupurai Togarepi getting US$72 547-00 and none of them paid back anything.

An Agritex officer who cannot be named said there are 11 pivot centres three for communal farmers at Driefontein and two at Dronemore with the remainder being owned by A2 farmers.https://www.masvingomirror.com

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