lost hope of getting any fertilizer and as you know, our type of soil can’t yield anything without fertilizer. Besides, I planted less than half of my fields because of insufficient seeds.”
Makatsa, a former construction worker in Harare, left the capital two years ago after becoming a victim of the Zanu (PF) government’s Operation Murambatsvina, which rendered more than 700 000 families homeless. He was left with no option but to pack up his meagre belongings and head for his rural home at Nyamakosi Village in Mutoko.
There, he had to improvise in one of the dilapidated huts at his ailing father’s homestead together with his wife and three kids. His father responded to the situation by apportioning small pieces of land to his returning two sons, including Makatsa’s young brother who is still employed as a security guard in Harare but without any fixed aboard in the capital city. His wife and two kids are at home.
The rainy season has been erratic and has exacerbated the plight of Makatsa and other villagers in Chief Chimoyo’s area. With the continuously escalating prices of all basic commodities, the patience of the people of this area has been stretched to the limit and it is now only a matter of time before they explode and shock President Robert Mugabe’s government.
A recent visit to the area revealed that people have realised the folly of the land reform programme. They now openly denounce Mugabe and his regime and freely discuss political alternatives. The people of Mutoko have in the past been known for their blind loyalty to Mugabe and his party, despite the area lagging behind in terms of development.
“It is pointless to intimidate people and expect them to remain supportive when we can’t even afford to do subsistence farming,” John Makwembe angrily points out.
“Maybe these vision people (World Vision) might continue bringing whatever little they can. But on the issues of fertilisers I have lost hope,” he said.
Opposition politician, and former Grain Marketing Board head, Renson Gasela, said the situation on the ground pointed to another year of very low output, even in areas that would receive normal or above normal rainfalls in the latter part of the season.
“It is another terrible season mainly due to lack of inputs as well as continuous chaos on the land as the Zanu (PF) government still struggles with the land reform,” he said.
Agriculture minister Joseph Made, who in the past had become infamous for making wild, but unrealistic projections, has admitted the lack of seeds and fertilizer but, characteristically, blamed it on lack of foreign currency as a result of (non-existent) sanctions.
Zimbabwe has been grappling with unprecedented economic problems since the government embarked on violent lands seizures in 2000, ostensibly as a moral duty to address imbalances but dismissed by critics as sour grapes following the rejection of Mugabe’s draft constitution.
Brown fields, yet to be planted, characterize the way as one drives back to Harare after listening to people’s emotional stories of how a government which had promised them all would be well after the land reform, seems to have floundered into oblivion. It is the same story as one travels through the valleys of Murehwa and Juru.
But, wait a minute, Mashonaland East governor, Ray Kaukonde’s farm, Pajero Rarubi Farm, about 20 kilometers before reaching Harare has a different story. A thriving soya bean and maize crop tell of a story of better levels of production.
“It is only those with a lot of money or politicians who can access or afford inputs. But they can’t meet the national food requirements alone,” Makatsa said as he lamented the failure of Mugabe’s misguided land reform programme.
Indeed, next to Kaukonde’s farm is one Nyamasvisva farm, most probably owned by another poor Zimbabwean or a number of them, which still has brown fields of uncultivated land. There is no sign of any serious farming taking place at Nyamasvisva Farm.
Post published in: News