Kintyre Estates reduced to a wasteland

 

Rodwin Chirara


THE once green fields of Kintyre Estates have become a shadow of their past glory after an ambitious project to turn the farm into commercial and housing plots failed to materialise.

The farm, which was a leading dairy producer, s

upplying up to 100 000 litres of milk per month, was also a well-known wheat and soya bean producer. It was a major fixture on the itinerary of visiting heads of state as its lush irrigated fields and thriving herds were used to illustrate Zimbabwe’s agricultural success story.

All this ground to a halt in 1999 when the Kintyre Country Project was launched amidst pomp and fanfare at the five-star Meikles Hotel. To date, there has been no evidence of either farming or property development on the farm 40 km west of Harare.

The only major activity is that of contractors widening the Bulawayo highway in the area. The former dairy project has an air of desolation about it.

Efforts to get clarification on why the project has taken so long to get off the ground were unsuccessful as this paper was referred from one office to another.

Kingdom Bank, which in 1999 advanced a $425 million loan towards the implementation of the project, briefly got involved on the basis of the capital provided. The bank has since pulled out and has received its full refund.

The Zimbabwe Independent contacted CB Richard Ellis, who were the project marketers, who directed this paper to AMG Chartered Accountants. In turn the accountants referred this paper to High Brass, the project managers. High Brass referred the Independent to their chairman, Science and Technology permanent secretary, Vincent Hungwe, for clarification. He was said to be away in India.

CB Richard Ellis managing director Abraham Sadomba simply said: “What we only did is that we sold 50 plots during phase one of the project. We have not done anything on that project for the past 12 months. We do not know what is happening there.”

The project launched in 1999 was aimed to create a horticultural hub and 10 000 jobs, but to date there is no sign of activity taking place at the farm.

It is not clear who is supposed to service the stands with AMG claiming that they were only responsible for auditing accounts for Kintyre and restructuring High Brass which owns the project.

High Brass is reported to be struggling to service and demarcate a large chunk of the land with 50 stands ranging from 10 to17 hectares earmarked for agriculture having been serviced.

An official of High Brass, Peter Mashayamombe, said there were managerial structures being put in place at the company and professed ignorance of any implementation problems.

“There was some addition and subtraction of some land. This is typical of any project. All infrastructure that had to be put in has been put in,” said Mashayamombe.

He blamed vandalism as the main cause for the delay saying electrical and irrigation equipment had been damaged.

Ben Kaschula, a provincial executive of the Commercial Farmers Union, said the situation on the farm was symptomatic of what is happening more generally.

“That was a productive farm and look what has come of it. That’s a typical example of productive land gone to waste,” he said.

“That farm had a good irrigation system, with hectares of land under it but all that seems to have disappeared,” said Kaschula.

President Nicolae Ceausescu of Romania was taken there during his state visit in 1983 amidst great publicity and presented with dairy cows. Their fate is unknown.