YOUTHS in Chisumbanje have shunned political party inclinations and have resolved to engage the ethanol producing company so that they can be given plots as outgrowers.
REPORT BY OUR STAFF
The resolution to engage Green Fuel, the company that runs Chisumbanje Ethanol Plant, came at a meeting held last week where youths from Zanu PF, MDC-T and Zanu Ndonga resolved to join hands and demand a stake.
The meeting came after government announced 10% mandatory blending — 10% ethanol and 90% petrol.
Mandatory blending was at 5%, and is set to increase to 15% by the end of next month and 20% in the first quarter of 2014.
The resolution by the youths also comes after Green Fuel gave war veterans 250 hectares of land.
Platform for Youth Development Trust (PYD) director, Claris Madhuku told The Standard last week the youths want to enter a Memorandum of Understanding with the ethanol plant, to be given plots where they will grow sugarcane or other cash crops.
“We are an organised and orderly group of young people who are apolitical and want training in agribusiness and to be engaged as outgrowers,” he said.
PYD has engaged youths from all political parties and a seven-member committee was established to ensure that their concerns are looked at.
The committee will also ensure the smooth integration of the youths from different political parties.
He said there are at least 20 000 youths in Chipinge district and the move is seen as a major step in alleviating the plight of the youths.
“If we are given small plots, we can grow crops on irrigation with company as a ready market,” he said.
Madhuku said the youths agreed that security of the investor was in young people who are ready to protect the investor’s interest from predatory politicians.
“If the youths’ needs are catered for, investor’s security is guaranteed. We will fight those who deal in corruption,” he said.
There have been reports that politicians were fleecing money from Billy Rautenbach, one of the shareholders in the ethanol plant.
Rautenbach’s companies, Macdom and Ratings, have 49% shareholding in the plant in which government has a 51% stake.
Initially, the project was a 20-year Build, Operate and Transfer between the Agricultural Rural Development Authority (Arda) and Rautenbach’s Ratings and Macdom.
YOUTHS SPEAK WITH ONE VOICE
An MDC-T activist in Chipinge, Wedzerai Gwenzi told The Standard that while they have respect for politicians, the youth have resolved that no political heavyweight will “deter us from achieving our objectives”.
Vigilante Muchaneyo, Zanu PF youth chairman in Chipinge South, concurred with Gwenzi on the need to be apolitical in the youth’s activities, adding that the group wants to capitalise on government’s youth empowerment policy.
Government has said youths are at the centre of its empowerment drive.