Quelea birds to eat unplanted wheat? (28-06-07)

Dear Family and Friends,
I am writing this letter late at night when the electricity is on because supplies during the day, both in the week and at weekends, are now very sporadic. At any time, without warning the power goes off, sometimes for just an hour or two but more often it is for solid

chunks of eight or even 10 hours at a time.
When all these power cuts began we were told that it was because all the electricity we had was going to go to the wheat farmers who needed to irrigate the crop for the nation’s daily bread. Some people half-heartedly believed that story – but not for long. As it was last year and the two previous years, the growing wheat crop is just not there for us to see.
This week the propaganda peddlers began preparing the way for yet another disaster. As always they treat us like complete idiots! Ignoring the fact that we are all sitting in the cold and dark because they’d told us all the electricity was irrigating wheat, this week they told us that the projected crop is going to be far less than anticipated. This is apparently because the wheat farmers can’t irrigate because of the electricity cuts.
Even this ludicrous irony doesn’t ring true because for most of us the last report we saw on the winter wheat crop was in the government sponsored Herald newspaper and that took the Emperors clothes off for all to see.
Written just 10 days before the last date for planting wheat in late May, the report said that Secretary for Agriculture Dr Shadreck Mlambo had addressed a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee. The report stated: “of the projected 76 000 hectares, only 8 000 hectares have so far been put under wheat.”
It’s hard to believe that a massive 68 000 hectares of wheat were planted in those last few days of May – before it was too late – but now, another new spin is emerging.
Government agricultural voices have begun warning that quelea birds are preparing to decimate the country’s winter wheat crop – the crop that either wasn’t planted in the first place or hasn’t been watered because there’s been no electricity for the irrigation pumps.
We are told that there is only one aeroplane in the country that can be used to spray the birds and apparently four are needed to “cover the whole crop”. Its not being said if the whole crop consists of 8,000 hectares spread out in lots of little squares or if it’s actually 76,000 hectares.
Keeping up with both the facts and the propaganda about events in Zimbabwe has become almost impossible as electricity cuts silence all but the most determined and innovative lines of communication. It took a message from outside Zimbabwe to tell me what our Minister of Lands, Didymus Mutasa, said this week – and for millions of cold, tired and hungry Zimbabweans, they are sickening words:
“The position is that food shortages or no food shortages, we are going ahead to remove the remaining whites. We would all rather die of hunger but knowing full well that the land is in the hands of black people.” Until next week, thanks for reading, ndini shamwari yenyu.

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