MASHONALAND West Provincial Affairs minister Faber Chidarikire has pledged free land to the Chinese in exchange for major investment in agriculture.
Chidarikire told a Chinese delegation led by deputy director-general of the Office of Foreign Affairs Li Jun that the province was keen to see the Asians investing in fertiliser production in Mashonaland West.
He said investment in fertiliser production would create employment and improve agricultural productivity in the province.
Li said the Chinese province of Hebei was prepared to cooperate with Mashonaland West to boost food security and ensure that the province’s agriculture potential was realised.
“We should endeavour to develop our communities using our natural resources to improve our living conditions,” said Li.
The delegation is on a visit to Mashonaland to study areas the Chinese can partner locals.
But the Chinese were clearly sceptical about the indigenisation policy. They wanted assurance that their investments would not be affected by the controversial indigenisation policy.
“For this new (special) economic zone, do we get more than 51%?” asked Yang Yuhong, one of the delegation members.
Chidarikire assured the delegation that investors interested in cotton production and hydro-power projects under the proposed Special Economic Zones would not be affected by the indigenisation policy.
“You are getting everything tax-free because you are coming to invest, this is a new thrust, economic zones are not bound by 51%-49%, you will get 100%” said Chidarikire.
The Chinese delegation said they were interested in local cotton because it was of high quality due to hand picking as machine compromised the quality in other countries.
Despite high demand for Zimbabwean cotton it has continued to attract low prices much to the disadvantage of cotton growers.