ZIMBABWE – As part of her mission in Manicaland, the First Lady, Dr Grace Mugabe will embark on a tour of the Cashel Valley estates tomorrow where she is expected to meet over 1800 farmers to try and understand their challenges.
The Cashel Valley estates have a vast farm that specialised in growing beans and processes the Cashel baked beans.
Dr Mugabe’s visit is expected to ignite interest in the rehabilitation of Cashel Valley and give impetus to revival of income generating horticultural projects for women and youth empowerment in line with the country’s economic blueprint, ZIMASSET and the 10 point plan.
The Cashel Valley area used to be a big producer of legumes and fruits that were canned and consumed the world over.
However, more than 1 800 farmers, who used to be contracted by Cairns Foods to grow beans, folded their operations due to economic challenges which also affected the operations of the irrigation scheme.
After touring the valley, which spans several square kilometres, the First Lady is expected to address a rally at Methodist Church-run Mutambara Mission.
Mutambara Mission is one of the major schools that contributed cadres to the liberation war effort and was closed in 1975 when all students abandoned school for the war front.
Meanwhile, The Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs, Mandi Chimene is calling upon the Manicaland community to come out in large numbers and give a befitting welcome Dr Mugabe.
Chimene said transport has been availed in all the eight political districts in Manicaland to ferry party supporters.
She said there are high expectations that the visit by the First Lady will set the tone for the re-opening of Cashel Valley irrigation scheme which used to be the hub of horticulture produce.