Commercialisation of HCC farms stalled

HARARE - Commercialisation of Harare City Council (HCC) farms has been stalled as there is a lack of clarity of the roles of Harare Water department and the city investment arm Sunshine Holdings.

HCC has three farms, Ingwe, Pension and Crowborough which were acquired in 1973 as part of the city’s sewerage treatment system.

In 2013, the Business Committee resolved that council would get a $60 000 loan that would be used as seed capital to start the farm commercialisation programme.

The town clerk was then mandated to look for a viable partner to manage and run the farms.

After consultation with city fathers, acting town clerk Josephine Ncube recommended that Sunshine Meats, a subsidiary of council should be given rights to use the farms.

Ncube also recommended that since the farms are used in the treatment of effluent, Sunshine Meats would pay concession fees to Harare Water.

“Harare Water would pump treated effluent to holding ponds at each farm, while Sunshine Meat would manage the farms from the holding ponds to nearby rivers. They would also be responsible for all the running costs associated with the farms, including labour,” Ncube said.

Harare farms have been experiencing countless problems among them death of cattle mainly due to starvation.

Other issues are a lack of adequate funds to purchase dip drugs, supplementary feed and repair and maintain equipment.

Apart from cattle deaths, the farms have also been targeted by land invaders who also vandalise property.

“The collapse of the effluent pumping system has made the plantations accessible for human settlement. This development will incapacitate the sewerage works and also put the ranching project into jeopardy.

“Crowborough Farm has 80 cooperatives occupying about 60 hectares, Ingwe has three cooperatives occupying approximately 20 hectares while several attempts at Pension were thwarted by the Loss Control and some individuals from the army,” read the report.

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