Samuel Kadungure recently in Manica, Mozambique
AFTER decades of prolonged droughts, poor irrigation systems and non-existent of agronomic skills — the transformation of Mozambique’s agriculture can be traced to the exodus of scores of white commercial farmers to that country after Zimbabwe’s agrarian reform.
More than 50 white farmers moved to Manica Province where they were rewarded with cheap and long-term land leases. They also got cheap loans from multinational tobacco and horticultural companies. A tour of Vanduzi district by a Zimbabwean delegation led by Minister of Provincial Affairs (Manicaland) Cde Monica Mutsvangwa proved that agriculture and livestock are now the forte of Mozambique. Cde Mutsvangwa’s delegation toured Vanduzi Farm, a horticulture property that shines as an epitome of technological advancement and productivity.
It is nestled in the shadows of mountains, has perennial rivers and deep, rich red soils. Thanks to improvements in irrigation systems and modern farming technology, the farm has been transformed into the hub of cereals, vegetables, chillies and legumes production. The produce also finds its way into Zimbabwe’s supermarkets as well as multinational companies in Britain, Europe and South Africa.
The boon in farming has become so lucrative that huge volume of trucks carrying horticultural produce pass through Forbes Border Post for both local and foreign markets. Such a success venture reminds many of Kondzozi Estate, in Odzi, which was Manicaland’s largest horticultural exporting company. It was run by Mr Ediwn Moyo and Mr Piet de Klerk.
Vanduzi Farm is run by Mr de Kerk and a group of local smallholder farmers who produce under irrigation. Kondozi was an Export Processing Zone-registered firm but was acquired during the land reform programme and allocated to the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (Arda) before ownership was transferred to Presidential Scholarships Minister Cde Chris Mushohwe.
“We want to do such kind of projects, or even better, said Cde Mutsvangwa.
She said it was a matter of time before horticulture is revived in Manicaland.
“What I know is Kondozi Estate is owned by Minister Mushohwe, and the good will is there. The issue of Kondozi Estate was raised by Mr Nyabadza and we are all agreeable that horticulture must be resuscitated in Manicaland. Arda is negotiating on how horticulture production can be resuscitated to yesteryear levels,” said the minister.
“We are working on economic co-operation with Mozambique, and agriculture is one key sector up for grabs. This is why in my delegation included Arda board chairperson Mr Basil Nyabadza, the Agrillience consortium and Mr Henry Nemaire of Tanganda. If Tanganda is growing tea on the Zimbabwe’s boarder with Mozambique, what can stop them from expanding into Mozambique and improve the lives of people on both sides of the boarder,” said Cde Mutsvangwa.
Kondozi Estates, which is located about 35 kilometres along the Odzi-Marange Road, has been lying in a derelict state in April 2004, and infrastructure is depreciating owing vandalism and underutilisation.