Stop onslaught against farmers
Stop onslaught against farmers
Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi’s impassioned calls to Zimbabwean farmers to buy land in the neighbouring country exposed the bankruptcy of our government’s policy to drive out the remaining white commercial farmers.
Zambia, Mozambique and Zambia are some of the countries that have seen their agriculture production improve after
absorbing Zimbabwean farmers who lost their properties during the land reform programme. Zambia rose from a net importer of food to one of the important grain producers in the region and has on a number of occasions come to the rescue of Zimbabwe.
Nyusi on Thursday officially opened the low-key Harare Agricultural Show and pointed out that his country would benefit immensely if Zimbabwean farmers bought land in his country for commercial purposes.
The open invitation comes at a time the government has renewed the compulsory takeover of commercial farms.
A staggering 23 commercial farms were gazetted for acquisition recently despite that 96% of the commercial farmers have already been dispossessed under the land reform programme.
President Robert Mugabe and Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko are some of the high-profile government officials
that have bemoaned the low production in the newly acquired farms.
The government has also been struggling to carry out an audit of the land redistribution programme, which it acknowledges
was marred by corruption and double allocations.
Instead of fixing the gaps identified in the haphazard redistribution of land that characterised the initial phase of
the land reform programme, the government continues to seize more farms.
Some government and State security officials have also taken advantage of the anarchy to grab productive farms across the country.
The latest incident involves attempts by some Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) officials to take over Buena
Farm in Goromozi.
Farmer Martin Grobbler has revealed in court papers that the two CIO agents invaded the farm a week ago and gave
him 48 hours to leave the property.
He was told that the only thing that he could take with him were his dogs.
Grobbler insists that he has an offer letter for the property.
His story resonates with that of many other farmers across the country who are being forced out of their properties by government officials and civil servants.
Nyusi’s calls for Zimbabwean farmers to consider investing in his country dovetails with policies of many African countries that are actively courting foreign investors to take up land in their countries to boost agriculture production.
Agriculture is a capital-intensive industry, especially in the era of climate change where rainfall patterns have become unpredictable.
Zimbabwe’s irrigation capacity has declined dramatically with the destruction of commercial agriculture and production by subsistence farmers continues to decline due to poor rainfall.
According to reports, the number of exhibitors at the bust- ended Harare Agricultural Show dropped by 8% and this is a reflection of the parlous state of the agriculture industry.
It is high time the government abandoned its destructive policy of punishing productive farmers for political expediency for the sake of the faltering economy.
Nyusi’s statements should be a wake-up call to the Zanu PF mandarins that their policies belong in the past.