CFU warns of ‘disaster’ as farm invasions intensify

The President of Zimbabwe’s Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) on Friday warned that the country was heading for ‘disaster’, with farm invasions intensifying across the country.

CFU head Charles Taffs told SW Radio Africa that the situation is extremely serious, describing a “definite spike in invasions with orders coming from high up in the government.”

Currently, a South African national who leases a Belgian owned tobacco farm near Mazowe, is fighting to get the Zim government to intervene, after he was evicted by land invaders this week. The farm, Taveydale, is one of the biggest tobacco producers left in the country. The South African farmer is also meant to be protected under a bilateral investment agreement between Zimbabwe and his country.

Taffs also explained how a couple in Mashonaland West were forced to flee their farmhouse after a group of about 40 land invaders broke into the property on Thursday.

“Things are really intensifying and there is no effort to intervene. I have spoken to the MDC side of government, but there has been response,” Taffs said.

He added: “We seem to be a lost sector, and all the concern and focus is on mining. But the thing is, primary agriculture has to be restored, because without agriculture, Zimbabwe has no chance. And we are heading for a disaster if this carries on.”

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Independent is reporting this week that a ZANU PF official from the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC) was behind the invasion of a German owned farm recently. The farm, owned by the Von Pezold family, has faced repeated threat of seizure despite an investment protection agreement (BIPPA) between Germany and Zimbabwe.

According to the Zim Independent, ZANU PF’s JOMIC representative Kizito Kuchekwa is behind the most recent invasion of the Von Pezold’s tobacco farm.

The CFU’s Taffs said that the situation has returned to normal, saying “Germany is very strong on their BIPPAs being enforced, so I am sure they got involved.”

The Von Pezold family last year took the Zimbabwe government to an international court over the repeated invasions on their properties across the country. That matter is still pending before the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes. – SW Radio Africa News

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