Govt backtracks on land

Following the disastrous land ‘reform’ programme the government has back tracked and wants to work with the remaining white commercial farmers in strategic agricultural activities.

Minister of State for Provincial Affairs in Manicaland, Chris Mushohwe.
Minister of State for Provincial Affairs in Manicaland, Chris Mushohwe.

They should not be disturbed in their farming operations, and smallholder farmers should engage them and share knowledge and expertise, says Minister of State for Provincial Affairs in Manicaland, Chris Mushohwe.

“Please don’t disrupt the operations of remaining commercial farmers. Instead let’s engage them and work together. They operate in specialised areas such as timber, diary, seed potato production and livestock so we need to spare them so that they help in revamping our economy,” Mushohwe told smallholder farmers at Mutema Irrigation scheme in Middle Sabi recently.

“Government has taken this move to work with white commercial farmers in these strategic farming activities in order to help newly resettled farmers with helpful knowledge so that they will be independent in future,” he added.

Mushowe said the skills transfer was important to the resettled farmers as it was the only way to completely emancipate them since they were already controlling the means of production.

He said all stakeholders would meet next month to discuss how they can co-operate in mapping the way forward and how to work together in those strategic areas.

“We need to improve the quality of our produce for both export and local markets and this can only be achieved by tapping knowledge from commercial farmers,” said Mushohwe. “We cannot continue to import milk from South Africa because at the end of day we will become a laughing stock.”

He emphasised that commercial farmers should co-operate in establishing synergies with indigenous farmers and play a role in embracing government policies such as Zim-Asset to boost agricultural activities by working together.

“We are not simply going to spare these white farmers. We will consider the degree to which they co-operate with local farmers who are in the same activities as them,” he said.

Since the turn of the millennium when the Zanu (PF) led government embarked on a chaotic and controversial land reform programme to address the land imbalance, the country has continued to suffer from hunger.

The resettled farmers, among them top Zanu PF officials, are failing to utilise land they received resulting in many facing starvation every year.

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