Farmers to pay $2.4m

Macdom Investments, owner of the Chisumbanje ethanol plant, is demanding $2.4 m from its re-settled farmers as compensation for the 410 ha the company developed for them in 2009.

After Macdom took over Chisumbanje Estate from the ailing Arda, it also took over 410ha from the settler farmers who were operating separately from the government-controlled agriculture agency.

After three years of fighting and negotiations, the settler farmers won back their plots and now the company wants to make them pay costs for land developments made after takeover.

“This (payment) will ensure the writing off of approximately $2, 4m advised as outstanding capital development costs spent on rehabilitation and capital development of the 410ha (of the acquired land),” reads part of a letter written by Arda Managing Director, Willard Mbona, on behalf of Macdom Investments.

If the farmers fail to pay, Mbona said Macdom would continue using the land for the next three seasons to allow it to recover its development costs.

The settler farmers are fighting back, accusing Macdom of inflating the land development costs to frustrate their efforts.

“Any developments made on our plots were to service their sugar plantations which stand next to our plots, so we would rather share the cost if we ever agree to pay,” said a local farmer, Sithole.

The settler farmers are demanding compensation from Macdom for the maize crop that the company allegedly destroyed in 2009 when their land was converted to sugarcane plots.

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