Outgrower farmers accuse contractor of failing to pay

More than 150 outgrower farmers recently demonstrated at the Macdom Investments offices in Chisumbanje, accusing the consortium of failing to pay for the sugarcane they had supplied.

“We had a very good agreement with ARDA where the company supplied us with inputs which we would pay back during the marketing season. For the past three seasons we delivered sugarcane to the company but we have not received a cent,” a farmer identified only as Sithole, told The Zimbabwean. Macdom is in a joint venture with Green Fuel, Agricultural and Rural Development Authority and Rating Investments to produce ethanol. But the joint venture has suffered setbacks because there no ready buyers for its 10 million litres of fuel.

The farmers say they have an agreement with Macdom whereby the company provides farming inputs, and at the end of each season the growers sell the sugarcane back to the company and use part of the proceeds as repayment for the inputs.

We have been unable to verify the existence of such an arrangement, which sources at Macdom deny. The farmers said Macdom proposed to give them a total of $20,000 as part payment, but they rejected it, as they were owed $500,000.

“They owe us a lot of money and the little they brought to us was an insult,” said Sithole. “Before Macdom came we enjoyed a cordial relationship with ARDA. We sold our cotton through their account and we would get our money without hassles,” he added.

“Our children are out of school, we have no food at home and we are living in poverty,” said one of the farmers. They alleged that Macdom had requested the farmers to give them time to sell the ethanol fuel. Macdom declined to comment.

Post published in: Agriculture

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