‘Disaster’ on the cards as farm invasions continue

The Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) has again warned of a potential ‘disaster’ for the coming cropping season, saying ongoing land seizures are destroying the country’s future.

Last week Chief Chiweshe from Mashonaland Central invaded Heyshott Farm in Mazowe, owned by John Sole. Sole, one of the few remaining commercial farmers in the country was reportedly evicted by the police on Sunday evening.

In a separate incident army officer Eric Matotova is reported to have invaded Ndire Farm and has ignored a High Court order to leave the property.

Meanwhile it has also been reported that about a hundred families have been forcibly evicted by the police from two farms in Mazowe West, to pave the way for the expansion of a game park and cattle ranch run by Robert Mugabe’s wife Grace.

Charles Taffs, the President of the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU), told SW Radio Africa that “things are very serious across the country.”

“Without a doubt things are intensifying. With all this talk of elections, we are not that surprised, because land is used as a political tool,” Taffs said.

He added: “The problem is, while land remains in turmoil like this, there will always be invasions. And it’s not just whites being targeted; this is everybody and anybody who falls out of political favour, who is not on side.”

Taffs explained that as a consequence Zimbabwe is once again facing a disaster situation in terms of agricultural production, which has a critical affect on the country’s economic state.

“We are a nation of consumers of imported product, and our national deficit is 50% of our GDP. We urgently need an investor friendly climate to turn things around, but with land still a political tool, that is not going to happen,” Taffs said.

Zimbabwe is still said to be facing more than 90% unemployment and for every farm invasion, these figures continue to rise. Taffs explained that until government puts aside its political bickering and sorts out these issues, the country cannot recover.

But he said the government has not engaged with them or anybody else on the land issue.

“There has been no effort from government to end this situation. In fact, government isn’t even listening. The government is too focused on political survival on both sides,” Taffs said.

He however warned that if nothing is done soon, “we are going to be facing a regional crisis in terms of food. In Zimbabwe, it’s a disaster and where do we turn when there is no more food?” – SW Radio Africa

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