Govt praises Catholic Church

Vice President Dr Constantino Chiwenga (second from right) tours the Catholic Economy Value Chain - Driefontein Project in the company of Minister Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Dr Anxious Masuka (right), Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Midlands Province Owen Ncube and Roman Catholic Church officials.of Minister Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Dr Anxious Masuka (right), Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Midlands Province Owen Ncube and Roman Catholic Church officials.

THE Roman Catholic Church has been praised for modelling and operationalising a bankable agro-industrial corporation that will drastically impact national food sufficiency.

The plaudits came from Vice President Constantino Chiwenga when he visited the Catholic Economy Value Chain-Driefontein project in Mvuma yesterday.

The project is part of a broader agricultural business concern, Stella Mundi (Pvt) Ltd, created by the Catholic Church to unlock economic value on its agricultural land across the country. The church has large mission stations in most provinces.

The initiative is meant to foster financial self-sustenance in the church, guarantee food security and create economic value in the agriculture value chain.

The Driefontein Project will see the production of wheat rotated with soya beans and maize.

Speaking after touring the project, VP Chiwenga said such bankable projects run by technocrats dovetail with President Mnangagwa’s national development thrust and Government will always be available to lend a hand.

“The involvement and participation of the church in state programmes of feeding the nation, gives me the pleasure to safely say, together we are the two wings that will fly the country to greater heights,” he said.

“I am pleased to stand before you to witness a massive wheat project under the ‘Catholic Economy Value Chain’ professionally modelled and monetised through a special purpose vehicle called Stella Mundi (Pvt) Ltd,” said VP Chiwenga.

“It is pleasing to note that the Roman Catholic Church has established a huge agro-industrial corporation built upon the vast Catholic asset base, managed by top-notch technocrats from across the region, and running on a highly bankable business case.

“The business case reveals a massive entity that will not only make the Church financially self-sustaining, but will drastically impact the country as far as employment and food security and sufficiency is concerned.

“This strategy is significant as it dovetails with the Second Republic’s thrust to achieve sustainable food and nutrition security at household and national levels as the country strides towards Vision 2030”.

VP Chiwenga also revealed that the church had financial support for this project from Government through AFC Holdings which extended a working capital loan. Going forward, the model is targeting to commercially exploit about 13 000 hectares of land in agricultural projects across the country.

The VP also noted that the project will give impetus to Government’s rural industrialisation programme which seeks to unlock the economic potential in the country side where the majority of the populace lives. Bishop of Gweru, Rudolph Nyandoro, thanked Government for supporting the church in setting up their project.

“As bishops we agreed that we should come up with projects that help in the attainment food self-sustenance and assist our country in achieving food security hence the coming in of the company Stella Mundi,” said Bishop Nyandoro. “Stella Mundi seeks to establish economic operations built upon the vast Catholic asset base, handpicked professionals and ecosystems of large corporate value chain partners, strong markets and financial partners.

“The vision of the bishops is to unlock value in the Catholic asset base with a view to building capacity to positively impact millions of people in the communities and in the country.

“We acknowledge the passionate support the Government gave to our vision, their endorsement and active support was pivotal in Stella Mundi securing the requisite commercial loans to launch (the project),” said Bishop Nyandoro.

He said so far, over 100 people have been employed on this project which is still in its first year and are looking at employing more as they target growth.

VP Chiwenga was accompanied by Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Dr Anxious Masuka, and Minister of State for Midlands Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Owen Ncube and all spoke on the need to ramp up agricultural production.


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