GOVERNMENT OFFERS MORE FARMLAND TO BILLY RAUTENBACH

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Lands and Agriculture minister Perrance Shiri has offered 10 000 hectares of land to Billy Rautenbach to expand his farming activities in Kanyemba, along the Zambezi River.

Shiri made the offer at the weekend at a stakeholder meeting with the Kanyemba villagers, where government plans to set up a community irrigation scheme as well as a service centre for the long marginalised Doma people in Mashonaland Central province.

Rautenbach was part of the meeting, which was also attended by Local Government minister July Moyo, Tourism minister Priscah Mupfumira, Transport minister Joel Biggie Matiza and ICT minister Kazembe Kazembe.

Shiri said Rautenbach, who already controls large tracts of land in Chisumbanje, under his Greenfuel company for the production of ethanol, has impressed government through his gigantic project in Manicaland province.

“There is a lot of irrigation water from the Zambezi River.

We can offer you (Rautenbach) 10 000 hectares of land for your agricultural activities,” Shiri said.

Government is planning to put 200 000 hectares of land under irrigation in Kanyemba for the Doma people.

This would be over and above giving them fishing licences in the Zambezi River, employment with the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority and allocation of hunting quotas for the slaughter of elephants, buffalos and impalas for community and national commemorations.

Rautenbach controls the majority stake in Greenfuel, while the other shares are owned by government through Arda.

He is planning another ethanol project in Masvingo.

Rautenbach is one of few white commercial farmers favoured with land in the country while the majority lost their land during the country’s fast-track land reform programme of 2000 while turning the country from its bread basket status to a basket case.

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