Who will grow the food?

BY LITANY BIRD
Dear Family and Friends,
I'm sure it won't come as a surprise to hear that it's all off - again - and the denials have begun, regarding who is allowed to grow food in our hungry country. Zimbabwe made international news a fortnight ago with the announcement that the government w

ere asking white commercial farmers to return to the land and get some food growing.
Minister of State Security, Didymus Mutasa said that he had held meetings with the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) and that they (the CFU) now understood how to work with government. Mutasa was quoted as saying: “we asked them to submit applications for land and these will be treated favourably. They are Zimbabweans like everyone else.”
According to The Herald, the vice president of the CFU, Mr Gifford, then agreed that they had indeed been talking to Minister Mutasa about the future of agriculture in Zimbabwe. Gifford said: “In fact, we have just submitted to the government 200 applications for land from our members.”
Hardly were the words out of Gifford’s mouth when Minister Mutasa was quoted in the media again but by now there was clearly some difficulty with the numbers. Mutasa said: “Some farmers have applied and their papers are being considered like any application, but we do not have a number like 200 applications.”
In the same week that all this was happening 20 farmers in the Midlands were being given 48 hours to vacate their farms. At this point Justice for Agriculture (JAG), whose name explains their function, were asked what they thought the CFU was doing. JAG were damning in their condemnation of the CFU and said: “the leadership (of CFU) is still on their farms and have politically been left alone. Some individuals in the CFU have expanded their operations on the back of this crisis acting as agents for the government. They have chosen to go this lucrative route at the demise of their members.”
And now, barely a fortnight later, it seems it’s all off, and Minister Mutasa is being quoted on South African television. Mutasa said “No white farmer is being invited back.” The Minister said he had not spoken to any foreign journalists and that all their claims about farmers being asked back were wrong.
In the two weeks that this has been going on a lot of people have asked me if I would go back to farming on the back of this information. It’ a simple and obvious answer – No, not a chance. The reason is just as simple and obvious – nothing whatsoever has changed.
Until property title is restored, until compensation is given, until law and order is restored, until accountability is enforced – nothing whatever has changed. At this point in time the chances of an arbitrary man walking past a farm and deciding he wants it, and the crops, implements and infrastructure – and then taking it all and having his theft supported by police and government – are as a strong as ever. No way, no chance. Not sour grapes, just plain and honest common sense. Until next week, Ndini shamwari yenyu

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Post published in: Opinions

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