Nchima Estates Slash Pigeon Peas for Encroachers

Part of slashed pegion peas Part of slashed pegion peas - pic by citizen journalist

Nchima Tea Estate in Thyolo has started slashing down some hectares of pigeon peas which were grown on its land encroached by the surrounding communities.

The exercise has started in Nkolokosa area where the Village Headman on Friday told Zodiak that his subjects are to blame because in July last year, court ordered them to stop using the land after harvesting, but they defied the directive.

"My advice to my subjects is that they should desist from being defiant on something which is not theirs. If they had wanted help, they would have followed proper channels like going through the T/A or District Commissioner not encroaching the land," said chief Nkolokosa.

Nchima Tea Estate Managing Director Grant Bramsen, said they are following through on an issued court order, since they have battled for some time to grow the sustainable woodlots due to vandalism and encroachment.

"The company has taken this route as a follow through on an issued court order in conjunction with the district authorities and law enforcement. We have battled for some time to grow our sustainable wood lots due to vandalism and encroachment, working with the community we were encouraged by their support encouraging us to preserve and plant back out our woodlots,” he said.

Bramsen added: "We are working closely with the respective community authorities and village heads who support our initiative to maintain our boundaries and remain a sustainable commercial estate providing employment and support for our surrounding communities, whilst also investing into the national economy through the production of export crops like Tea and Macadamia.

There was heavy presence of police on Thursday in which Thyolo Police Officer in-Charge Ulemu Kaluwa, indicated the company just asked for security in case of violence. 

The issue of distributing idle land in Thyolo estates remains a thorn in the fresh.

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