The Grace Mugabe Foundation, which owns land in Mazowe, has won this year’s Land Reform Top Producers Field Tours award.
The accolade is administered under the Special Projects Desk in the Office of the Minister of State and it is aimed at appreciating success stories emanating from the visionary land reform programme instituted by government from the year 2000 to date.
The First Lady, Dr Grace Mugabe’s projects in Mazowe valley include agricultural land, an orphanage, the Grace Mugabe Children’s Home and a school.
The land covering 905 hactares was put under maize, soya beans, michigan beans, sorghum and wheat in the last rainy season, and a citrus orchard as a source of food and livelihood for the under privileged children.
The award was presented by the Minister of State for Mashonaland Central Province, Advocate Martin Dinha, during a ceremony held at one of the pieces of land which was allocated to the foundation at the end of last year.
The land had become under-utilised with a dysfunctional irrigation scheme and efforts are underway to rehabilitate the systems.
The Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Dr Ignatious Chombo extolled the good work being done by the Dr Grace Mugabe Foundation, saying investments are a shining example of good leadership by beneficiaries of the land reform programme.
He said the projects are also a demonstration that the Zimbabwean people, most of them who have been educated by the Zimbabwe government and through the Presidential Scholarship Programme, can make a difference in the development of the country.
Dr Chombo said the philanthropic work of the First Lady and the way she is running the orphanage in a self-sustaining manner is deserving for the project to be elevated to a local non governmental organisation.
He appealed to the Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement to give the foundation a 99 year lease to ensure it is self sustaining.
A representative of the Grace Mugabe Foundation, Dr Nhari appealed to relevant authorities to adequately rewardthe sweat of the farmers to enable them to keep tilling the land.
Dr Nhari bemoaned late or non-payment of farmers by the Grain Marketing Board, saying it is possible for Zimbabwe to return to its bread basket status if they are paid timeously.
Other government ministers, legislators and the chief for the area, Senator Chief Nembire and other farmers and workers attended the awards ceremony.ZBC