Zim farm workers happy in Zambia

ZIMBABWEAN farm workers who lost their jobs following government’s seizure of white owned farms and then migrated to neighbouring Zambia together with their bosses have said their lives have since improved.

Most white commercial farmers who were dispossessed of their farms during the height of the controversial land reform programme fled to neighbouring countries where they have reportedly set up successful farming ventures.

The bulk of the dispossessed farmers have mostly settled in Zambia’s prime agricultural areas of Mazabuka, Mkushi and Mpika in Muchinga province.

NewZimbabwe.com last week caught up with Zimbabwean farm workers who are now based in Zambia where they have reunited with their white bosses.

“I used to work as a supervisor at Lees farm in Mutorashanga before the farm was acquired by government. My boss then migrated to Zambia and bought a new farm in Mkushi area.

My boss had so much confidence and trust in me to the extent that he facilitated work permits for myself and other workers whom we were working with at Lees,” said John Gurure in Victoria Falls.

Another former farm worker at Inyala farm, David January, said he was happy to reunite with his employer who was kicked out of his farm in 2004 and he is now farming in Mpika area.

“I am of Malawian origin. When I moved to Zambia in 2007 after being invited by my former boss, life has changed for the better. In Zimbabwe, I, together with other former workers, was suffering. The new farm owner was failing to pay us,” said January.

Most of the former Zimbabwean farmers who have been granted space in Zambia are into tobacco and maize farming.

Since Zimbabwe embarked on its chaotic land redistribution programme, the country, which used to be southern Africa's bread basket, has been buying most of its maize from Zambia to augment available stocks. The bulk of the maize is supplied by former Zimbabwean white commercial farmers.

Recipients of the government’s grain loan scheme in the country have previously seen bags of maize with stickers of names of former Zimbabwean farmers who trekked to Zambia.

The Zimbabwean government has imported 600, 00 tonnes of maize from Zambia to feed millions of its citizens who are facing starvation.

Zimbabwe faces a serious maize deficit due to drought, with 300, 00 hectares of maize crop coming up for harvest this month due to poor rains.

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