Sugarcane farmers concerned over payment model for their produce

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SENIOR government officials and the ZANU PF leadership in Masvingo Province met stakeholders in the sugar production industry in Triangle this Thursday to address challenges bedevilling the sector.

The meeting saw sugarcane out-growers and Tongaat Hulett workers’ representatives airing their concerns over the skewed payment method for their produce which is threatening viability.

“We have several challenges that we want the miller, Tongaat, to address but it seems they are taking their time to address the challenges. We have engaged the Minister and senior government and party officials on the issues and we hope there will be progress. We are also not able to operate under the Cane Milling Agreement payment model and we would want the Cane Purchase Agreement model.

“Besides us farmers, workers are not happy. Tongaat needs to raise the workers’ wages and we hope after this engagement with Tongaat and our Provincial leadership, we will find long-lasting solutions to the challenges affecting the industry,” said farmers who spoke to ZBC News.

The provincial leadership is convinced that the engagement will chart a new course in the sugar-producing industry.

“The farmers and workers are part of the electorate and it is our duty as the ruling party to ensure that the electorate is happy, hence we came here to hear the concerns of both parties,” said ZANU PF Masvingo Provincial Chairman, Robson Mavenyengwa.

“The engagement meeting was fruitful because both parties reached common ground. We have agreed that some of the issues such as the milling agreement issue will be addressed no later than the 10th of May. We will continue to hold similar engagements to ensure that the industry continues to be viable,” said Masvingo Minister of State for Provincial Affairs, Honourable Ezra Chadzamira.

According to the 2022 National Competitiveness Commission value chain report, Zimbabwe’s sugar industry is being hampered by a monopoly as well as a combination of policy and value chain inefficiencies.