Farmers warn that Zim agriculture is in ‘major crisis’

The Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) has warned that Zimbabwe is facing a “major crisis,” after a third of the country’s maize crops were declared a write off.

The state media has quoted Agriculture Minister Joseph Made as stating that the country faces a serious grain deficit, blaming a ‘prolonged dry spell’. He told the Herald newspaper that the government had halted sales from its ‘strategic grain reserves’ following the bleak results of a state assessment of the country’s maize crops.

The CFU’s President, Charles Taffs, told SW Radio Africa on Tuesday that he agreed with Made that Zimbabwe is in trouble agriculturally, with the country once again unable to feed itself. But he disagreed with the weather being blamed for the situation.

“We can’t continue to blame drought. It’s quite absurd that this is still used as an excuse,” Taffs said, adding that the reason behind the deficits is that “agriculture continues to be undermined.”

The country has been struggling to feed itself for more than a decade after productive farms were seized from commercial farmers and handed to top ZANU PF officials, as part of the land grab campaign. In 2008 this campaign was declared unlawful by the regional human rights court, but nothing has been done to correct the situation.

The result has been a country facing hunger, which ZANU PF has been quick to blame either on Western imposed targeted sanctions or the weather.

But as Taffs said, the treatment of the agricultural sector is the main problem.

“There is first of all no funding for agriculture and no security of tenure,” Taffs explained.

He said: “You know we actually have no problem with who owns the land. We have a problem with how the land is used,” adding that the there is no reason anymore why Zimbabwe should be relying on food aid or imports to survive. SW Radio Africa

Post published in: Agriculture

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