FERTILISER worth more than $35 000 went up in smoke after a 30-tonne haulage truck belonging to Masvaure Motors developed a mechanical fault and caught fire recently. The fertiliser belongs to the Tobacco Industry Marketing Board (TIMB).
The haulage truck was contracted by Tobacco Input Contracting Schemes (TICS) under TIMB to deliver fertiliser worth about $35 000 to irrigation farmers in Mvurwi and was reduced to a shell less than a kilometre from its destination.
The driver of the haulage truck, Mr Onias Machimbidza (31) blamed the fire on an mechanical fault.
“I started seeing smoke coming from the front of the truck when I was at the bridge. I then looked for a place to stop after crossing the bridge. Suddenly the fire started and engulfed the whole truck.
“It is unfortunate that some people had to be stopped by the police after they started looting the fertiliser when the fire started,” said the driver who escaped unhurt.
TICS technical personnel, Mr Billy Chifodya, lamented the loss, saying it would affect farmers who were supposed to benefit from the scheme.
“About 30 tonnes of tobacco blend fertiliser was destroyed. This is a major setback to us since the fertiliser was meant for irrigation farmers who were waiting at the depot to receive it. The fertiliser was intended to cover about 60 hectares of tobacco.
“This is our second season operating as Tobacco Input Contracting Schemes and it is unfortunate that we have been struck by such a costly disaster,” said Mr Chifodya.
Mazowe North legislator, Cde Campion Mugweni, said there was need to set up a fire station in Mvurwi since fire incidents were increasing in the area.
“It is quite disappointing to note that tobacco farmers contracted under the scheme will have their operations delayed because of this incident.
“What is also of serious concern is the non-availability of an active fire brigade team in the constituency, which is continuously losing property to fires,” said Cde Mugweni.