Gweru City Council targets 200ha wheat production

CATHERINE MASOCHA
IN GWERU

The Gweru City Council is planning to put 200 hectares under wheat production during this year’s winter cropping season on its Go-Beer Breweries farms, a move which will see the local authority expanding its revenue streams, Business Times can report.

The farms have been lying idle in the past few years. They used to supply raw materials to the local authority’s Go Beer Breweries before ceasing operations in 2014 due to debt accumulation and viability hurdles.

The local authority owns farms and a quarry mining claim as part of its assets that it seeks to resuscitate as part of efforts to augment Gweru City Council’s income generation streams.

The Gweru City Council spokesperson, Vimbai Chingwaramusee, told The Business Times that the local authority had already purchased farming equipment in preparation for the winter farming season.

“We have already purchased some farming equipment for the venture, which includes a disc harrow, bought at US$8 280, a Viacon spreader for US$1 400 and a boom sprayer at US$4 825.”

Chingwaramusee said the local authority would complete the planting at the farms by June 23,2021. 

“We hope that this winter wheat initiative will assist us to improve our revenue”.

The development comes after strong calls from residents for the city council to revive its strategic business units such as Go Beer Breweries to widen its revenue streams.

Residents have welcomed the winter wheat initiative.

“As residents, we are always pleased when our local authority explores new avenues of making money.  This is a very welcome idea and we support our local authority. We pray that this project will be successful,” Gweru Residents and Ratepayers Association executive director, Cornelia Selipiwe said.

Selipiwe, however, said the council should exercise good corporate governance practices in running the project.

“We don’t want to hear stories of the council setting up a Go-Beer board that sits every two months, squandering money from a project that is supposed to benefit residents.”

The Gweru City Council has since unbundled Go Beer into three companies, namely Go Beer Farming (Pvt) Limited, Progress Properties (Pvt) Limited and Progress Manufacturing (Pvt) Ltd.

It has also revealed plans for a ZWL$406 000 horticulture joint venture project at the Go Beer farm. It is also working on another project which would see a ZWL$$275 000 joint venture project at its Cambridgeshire and Goldridge farms.

Gweru City Council is currently owed in excess of ZWL$270m by residents, business and government departments, a situation that has crippled its service delivery. 

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