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Ethanol plant displaces super dad

CHIPINGE — A Chipinge man is now failing to provide for his 21 wives and 76 children after he lost his farming land to make way for the construction of the Chisumbanje Ethanol Plant.

BY TAWANDA MARWIZI

Mashava Muchatiroto’s world collapsed on him when Green Fuel took over the land which he used to till and sell the produce to sustain his huge family.

“I used to farm on that land and was able take care of my family but when Green Fuel came, they took it and it is becoming difficult for me to feed my family,” said Muchatiroto.

The 56-year-old father of 76 said more than 20 of his children have since dropped out of school because he could not afford their fees.

The super dad said he had in the past year sold more than 35 of his 50 cattle to raise money for his children’s school fees.

“Forty of them [children] were going to school, but now I can’t afford it because I have sold most of my cattle to sustain my family,” he said.

The children were attending school at nearby Chinyamukwakwa primary and secondary schools.

Muchatiroto claimed that some of his property was attached by the companies which used to advance him farming inputs and equipment after failing to service his debt.

One of the children could not hide his frustrations over the land seizure recently when Standardcommunity visited the area.

“Sometimes, we only eat once a day because there are many of us and now that our father’s piece of land was taken, it is going to be worse,” said the youthful Jayson.

Platform for Youth Development (PYD) leader, Claris Madhuku, whose organisation represents the interests of the displaced villagers, said there was need for the Green Fuel to assist the affected people.

“Look, some of these villagers who had their pieces of land taken are now suffering,” said Madhuku. “They are struggling to make ends meet, but the company wants to re-open without considering the plight of these people.”

He said they would fight to have the plight of these villagers resolved.

“Look at this situation whereby one is failing to sustain his family because the company took the land,” he said.

Vice-President Joice Mujuru recently ordered the re-opening of the plant.

Efforts to get comment from Green Fuel public relations manager, Lillian Muungani were fruitless as her phone went unanswered.

Last year, many angry villagers fought running battles with the police over disputed land with the fuel company.

The villagers claimed the land dispute started in 2009, when management at Green Fuel reneged on their promise to provide alternative land for the farmers displaced by the project.

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