MASVINGO mayor Femias Chakabuda has blamed the demise of the country’s oldest town on the chaotic fast track land reform programme which destroyed a once thriving cattle ranching industry that was the backbone of the city’s economy.
Report by Staff Writer
Masvingo was home to the largest Cold Storage Company’s abattoir, slaughtering around 450 cattle daily. The abattoir, which was shut down, supported the town’s transport and engineering companies as its downstream industries, but these have since closed leaving over 3 000 workers jobless.
Chakabuda told the on-going parliamentary finance, budget and investment committee’s 2013 national budget consultations in Masvingo on Wednesday that the resettlement programme’s “excitement” overshadowed the future of the city.
“The land reform programme killed Masvingo industry when peasants were resettled in the once thriving cattle ranches that supported the
city’s industries like CSC and transport companies like AJ Capple, Railway Motor Services and Mkondo Transport,” said Chakabuda.
Chakabuda said it was foolhardy to try and commercially farm in areas such as Zaka and Bikita because the weather was hostile.
He said government could still remedy the situation by assisting resettled farmers venture into the lucrative cattle ranching sector thus helping revive the town’s fortunes.