MARANGE – Long-suffering Arda Transau villagers are set to benefit from free farming inputs offered them by the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) as the organisation aims to enhance the villagers’ food security situation.
The villagers were relocated from Chiadzwa in the same province to Arda Transau in order to pave way for diamond mining in 2006.
The donations, which include seed, fertilizers and chemicals for maize and sorghum production, came after the villagers voiced concern over the neglect of their dire situation by government.
ZCDC has also acquired three tractors for use by tillage by Transau villagers to till their land.
The inputs are set to benefit 1 600 families.
Mnister of State for Manicaland Affairs Ellen Gwaradzimba told Zim Morning Post on Monday that the livelihoods of people Arda Transau had always been a thorny issue.
“My office has been receiving complaints from some community-based organisations in Arda Transau, saying the villagers there have been neglected,” she said.
“At one time, people threatened to besiege my office and do some press-ups as a way of demonstrating their anger,” Gwaradzimba said.
“We are now working on a model to ensure that they have the necessary amenities at Arda Transau.This is work in progress, and very soon we will come out with a sustainable plan for them,” she said.
ZCDC corporate affairs executive Sugar Chagonda said the donation of agricultural inputs to the relocated families at Arda Transau is part of ZCDC’s corporate social responsibility programmes.
“The essence of the programme is to enhance food security in the community,” he said.
Chagonda said the ZCDC was working closely with the community in spurring the development of various projects aimed at uplifting the villagers’ livelihoods.
“The inputs are expected to enhance the Arda Transau sorghum production project,” he said.
Chagonda also said the inputs, meant as community empowerment projects, would also fund other initiatives in other clusters like infrastructure development, health, water and sanitation, education, sport and recreation in the communities across Manicaland and beyond.
Donald Masvaure, the Arda Transau Relocation Development Trust chairperson – a community-based organisation that represents the interests of villagers relocated to Arda Transau – said they had been neglected for a long time.
“I want to thank the diamond mining company for finally coming to our rescue in pursuit of food security at household level,” he said.
“The ZCDC has finally empowered us by giving us the rod and not the fish. Now we can work for ourselves in the fields to produce food,” Masvaure said. As the leadership of a people that had been neglected, we are thankful for this gesture and hope this marks the improvement of the relationship between us and the company. We are looking forward to a win-win partnership with ZCDC,” he said.