The Government, through the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution in Manicaland, Nokhutula Matsikenyere, has hailed Allied Timbers of Zimbabwe (ATZ) for creating employment for rural dwellers.
Matsikenyere noted developments at Cashel Estate where ATZ is constructing a high-tech sawmill that will benefit local communities through employment creation and self-sustaining projects in the form of an out-grower scheme.
In a speech read on her behalf by the Secretary for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Edgar Seenza, at the end of year party recently thrown for traditional leaders in Mutare, Matsikenyere said:
We have learnt that most of the workforce is drawn from the local communities. At Cashel Estate, ATZ is also constructing a high technology sawmill, which on completion by midyear 2022 will employ scores of people in the sawmill chain, sorting, destocking, harvesting and haulaging.
I am told you are also looking at building another state-of-art sawmill at Nyangui beginning the third quarter of the year 2022. Many developments are being achieved by Allied Timbers.
The out-grower scheme encompasses the Nyatate area in Nyanga and is expected to cascade to Mhakwe, Gwendingwe, Mapiravana and Chirumhanzu, among other areas, beginning this month.
ATZ chief executive officer, Remigio Nenzou said traditional leaders play a critical role in the areas the company is operating in as they are the custodians of the land and forests. Said Nenzou:
Our CSR programme acknowledges traditional leaders as the custodians of the land and forests in which we operate in.
We started our efforts by inviting you to the traditional leaders’ beekeeping training programme. This was the first-ever training programme for chiefs in the country.
The programme was our first out-reach to impart knowledge to you so that you can go back to your subjects and train them. We gave you starter packs for the project as well.
We are happy that you went back and created groups, trained and helped them set up beehives. Our aim is to improve community relations.
We are also investing in the formation of fire brigades to combat and minimise veld fires so that we can collectively depend on the forest for our livelihoods.
We need your help to ensure that the communities surrounding our estates develop a sense of business and ownership.
If estates are razed down by fires or other disruptions from the communities, there will be no timber to talk about.
Traditional leaders, therefore, need to campaign against invasions, fire outbreaks and other social ills like gold panning.
The event was attended by chiefs Saunyama, Mutema, Muusha, Chikukwa and Zimunya, among others.