Farm seizures caused 30% drop in output

farm_destroyed1HARARE President Robert Mugabes controversial fast track land reform programme has resulted in 30 percent drop in the country's agricultural production, the World Bank has said.

According to a report entitled “Input and Output Market for Smallholder Farmers in Zimbabwe” released by the World Bank at a two-day agriculture stakeholders conference held in Harare last week, the country’s agricultural production has been declining since the late 1990s.

“Agricultural production in Zimbabwe has been on a decline since late 1990s, but the decline accelerated following the implementation of fast-track land redistribution in 2000, which among other factors has resulted in a cumulative decline in overall agricultural production of about 30 percent since then,” the World Bank said.

The agriculture stakeholders conference that was bankrolled by the Zimbabwe Multi-Donor Trust Fund a World Bank created fund was held to review the status of the countrys agriculture and come up with a recovery strategy for the sector that used to be the nations economic mainstay before government embarked on a chaotic land reform programme.

“Zimbabwe has moved from being a food surplus (and in some years an exporting nation) to a food deficit and importing country, with up to a third of the population depending on food aid,” said the World Bank.

Mugabes chaotic and often violent land reforms that he says were necessary to correct a colonial land ownership system that reserved the best land for whites and banished blacks to poor soils are blamed for plunging Zimbabwe into food shortages after he failed to support black villagers resettled on former white farms with inputs to maintain production.

Meanwhile a report prepared for the conference by the government and donors said yesterday Zimbabwe has paid compensation for land improvements for only about 3 percent of the 6 500 white-owned farms it has seized.

Mugabe has maintained that he will only compensate farmers for developments on the land such as dams and farm buildings and not for land because the land was stolen from blacks in the first place

“Only 203 farms out of the gazetted 6 571 farms have to date been compensated,” said the report.

But farmers say even these payments are way below market rates.

Post published in: Politics

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