Investors who were in a partnership with former Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo have decided to pull out of the deal following government’s move to withdraw the 99-year lease.
Chombo’s lawyer, Tungamirayi Muganhiri said the farm grab is now scaring investors who have been loyal to the agreement for over three years.
“The farm grab was scaring investors and my clients who have both invested heavily and are committed to ensuring production and food security for the country. It’s a very strange decision that has been made to take the farm.
“It could expose the Ministry of Agriculture in unnecessary litigation and cost the ordinary tax payers millions of dollars in compensation, the ministry actually approved this joint venture now they have somersaulted in strange and unclear circumstances given the production on the ground,” said Muganhiri.
This comes after agriculture Minister Anxious Masuka on 10 January 2021 withdrew a 99 year lease issued to Chombo despite acknowledging that “production levels on Chombo’s farm are high”.
Masuku also accepted the existence of a tripartite agreement entered into with investors PHI, Chombo and the Ministry.
It was further agreed by the Ministry that it would not cancel the lease for 18 years, but despite all this, Masuka has still grabbed the farm going against his own Ministry approved joint venture.
Instead Minister Masuka simply advised Chombo that any production and developments will be compensated by State which flies in the face of government’s efforts to save scarce money through austerity measures.
Masuka has previously promoted joint ventures on farms.