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Zimbabwean grower sues Cairns Foods over defective potato seed

Cairns Foods Ltd has been sued for US$46 000 after allegedly supplying a farmer -contracted to produce potatoes- with defective seed. Patrick Makuzwa has approached the High Court seeking an order cancelling his contract with Cairns Foods and for the food company to compensate him to the value of US$46 789 50. He also wants Cairns Foods to meet the cost of the suit.

The case states that, on February 12, 2019, Cairns Foods contracted Makuzwa to produce potatoes. Cairns funded him in the purchase of potato seed from Lion’s Den, which had a separate arrangement with the food company to supply seed to its growers.

Mukuzwa, according to the agreement, gave Cairns exclusive supply rights to his harvested potato crop for the company to recover the money paid in advance to Lion’s Den. Cairns then procured 30 000kg of Markie’s potato seed from Lion’s Den and delivered them to Makuzwa’s farm on March 3, 2019.

Makuzwa realised that there was something wrong with the seed after planting. He advised Cairns and the company sent its agronomists and technical representative to assess the crop. Cairns allegedly confirmed that the seed was defective. The food company, on September 23, 2019, asked Mukuzwa to produce a breakdown of the damage suffered so that they could resolve the matter amicably.

In his breakdown, Makuzwa tabulated a direct financial loss of US$15 789 as well as US$31 000 as indirect financial prejudice for the expected yield. He had planted 10 hectares of potatoes.


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