Nhema attacks ‘new’ farmers

Zim-Asset will never work because most resettled farmers have failed to work the land effectively, says Francis Nhema, the Minister of Youth Affairs, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment.

Francis Nhema
Francis Nhema

Speaking at a workshop to familiarise civil servants, the business community and Zanu (PF) officials on what is expected of them under the government’s economic blueprint, Nhema said government’s efforts to improve people’s lives were being hampered by the country’s failure to produce enough food.

“If you do not make the best out of what you have, then how can we as a nation better the lives of our people? You were provided with the land, given equipment and inputs, but some of you are doing nothing on those farms,” he said.

Most of the resettled farmers had sold everything and were busy running down the farms, added the minister. “You cannot even afford to grow the right crops suitable for your region. So what are we doing? Can we go anywhere like that? It’s bad. We must love our nation, we must love each other and have one purpose if we want Zim-Asset to work,” he said.

The Confederations Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) has urged the government to consider delisting farms grabbed under the controversial land reform programme and return the title deeds to commercially viable companies.

In an interview Henry Nemaire, the deputy president of CZI , said the land was earmarked for compulsory acquisition under the Agrarian reform, rendering the companies still on the land incapable of putting long-term plans into effect.

“Government should restore full ownership of some rich agricultural land in Manicaland to its more productive former owners,” he said, adding that this would allow the agricultural firms to use the title deeds to access funds from financial institutions like the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank.

The land resettlement programme, hailed as a big success by the Zanu (PF) government, impacted negatively on production as most farms, which used to produce for international markets, have since been occupied by war veterans and top party officials who have little or no agricultural skills or experience.

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