By Effort Manono| Chisumbanje and Chinyamukwakwa villagers in Chipinge have bemoaned the disruption of livelihoods by Green Fuel, a company which brought so much hope to locals when it came in 2008 but has now worsened their plight.
After Green Fuel owner Billy Rautenbach grabbed the villagers land to expand his ethanol project, he offered locals 0.5 hectares of irrigated plots but villagers reported receiving contaminated water which has not only affected their crops but livestock too.
Mrs Mahanya from Chisumbanje, one of the famers experiencing this, had this to say; ”Green Fuel gave us small portions on dry land, we ululated thinking it was a way of ploughing back but we have challenges of water to irrigate our crops. We sometimes go for weeks without water to irrigate our crops and if we happen to get the water it will be dangerous to our plants and animals. The water is contaminated and is causing the death of our livestock.”
To us the company gave us the plots as a cover to the public. We are gaining nothing and we are at a loss as we are now using more inputs but realising nothing in return.”
”Villagers have also accused Green Fuel of lying to Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement, Anxious Masuka by taking him on a tour of well-developed areas while the dilapidated were ignored.
The Minister and team did injustice to themselves and their bosses by stage managing the situation. In other words Hon Masuka sacrificed the farmers’ in order to please a ruthless investor.A Mr Maposa from Chinyamukwakwa had this to say about Masuka’s trip to Chisumbanje, ”We are very much worried with the way we are being treated. The Minister came and was taken to places where there are no issues.
Our houses were destroyed, crops ploughed down but the minister did not bother to meet us.
”The Minister and the investor are acting against the constitution of Zimbabwe which states that land is a finite natural resource that forms part of Zimbabwe common heritage which every citizen has a right to acquire, hold, occupy, use, transfer, hypothecate lease or dispose of regardless of his or her race and colour.