THE Chinyamukwakwa community of Chipinge says Green Fuels, the investor in the Chisumbanje Ethanol Project, should give them the proceeds from the sale of 1 388 hectares of sugarcane as compensation after they lost land to the company.
A representative of the community Claris Madhuku told the Zimbabwe Independent this week the company had taken over 2 600 hectares of land from the community comprising 694 households and as a result villagers want to be given proceeds from two hectares of sugar cane per household.
“We also want to be given the proceeds from two hectares of sugarcane per household from the company land in addition to the 0,5 hectares each household will be given to farm other crops. That is what war veterans in the area were given and we expect the same,” Madhuku said.
Madhuku is a community representative on the District Ethanol Project Implementation Committee (Depic), which was set up to facilitate communication among the local community, government and Green Fuels.
Depic was set up on the recommendations of an inter-ministerial taskforce headed by former deputy prime minister Arthur Mutambara which was tasked by President Robert Mugabe to resolve disputes between Green Fuels and the local community that had contributed to the halting of ethanol production last year.
Fresh tensions have erupted with villagers invading 663 hectares of land which they say the company should not be using.
Madhuku said the land is still the subject of dispute and villagers felt that Green Fuels had violated the recommendations of the Mutambara inter-ministerial taskforce by moving onto the land without the consent of the community.
He, however, noted that the company had started road rehabilitation and drilled three boreholes as it moved to comply with recommendations of the inter-ministerial taskforce, saying this “demonstrated that relations had progressed from the earlier stance of open confrontation”.
“They are repairing the 30km stretch of the Chinyamukwakwa road and they have already put up three boreholes,” said Madhuku.
“This just goes to show that constructive engagement instead of the confrontation of the early days can be mutually beneficial.”
However, he called on the company to move speedily to fulfil remaining promises of giving jobs to locals at the plant as well as parcelling out the 240 plots of land measuring 0,5 hectares to the Chinyamukwakwa households that were affected by the ethanol project.
Madhuku said the community, which had supported the company’s quest for the 5% mandatory blending of their ethanol product with petrol, was fully behind their request to increase it to 20% as long as they meet their end of the bargain.