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Government Fails to Support Sugarcane Farmers Despite Strategic Crop Status, Says MP

Chiredzi West Zanu PF MP, Darlington Chiwa
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CHIREDZI – The government has not provided support to sugarcane farmers even after declaring sugarcane a strategic crop in 2021, according to Chiredzi West Zanu PF MP, Darlington Chiwa.

During a media tour of Tongaat Hulett operations in Chiredzi on Friday, Chiwa expressed concerns over the lack of government intervention. Unlike tobacco and wheat farmers, who receive substantial government support, sugarcane farmers are left without the necessary inputs and assistance.

Chiwa called for managed load-shedding for sugarcane farmers, similar to the provisions for tobacco and wheat growers, to help stabilize and grow the industry. He emphasized the need for clear government interventions that typically accompany a strategic crop status.

“Sugarcane, as a strategic crop, should receive designated interventions. As farmers, as an industry, and as an MP, I expect the government to outline and implement these interventions,” Chiwa stated.

In an interview with The Mirror, Chiwa revealed that since the declaration of sugarcane as a strategic crop, there has been no tangible support for the farmers. He noted that while other strategic crops receive considerable attention and resources, sugarcane farmers have been neglected.

“The Minister of Agriculture always attends the opening of the tobacco and wheat seasons, but this is not the case for sugarcane,” Chiwa pointed out. “The declaration was meant to address the challenges faced by the sugar industry, especially small-scale farmers, in sourcing inputs.”

Currently, there are over 1,200 small-scale sugarcane farmers in Zimbabwe, contributing 40% to the total production. Despite their significant contribution, these farmers continue to struggle without government support.