Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Black farmers prove critics wrong: Mugabe

Black farmers prove critics wrong: Mugabe

18/06/2011 00:00:00
by Gilbert Nyambabvu

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe says the country’s economic recovery – driven 
largely by agriculture and mining — has helped prove wrong the perception 
that black farmers are not as productive as white counterparts.

Zimbabwe’s agriculture-based economy hit the skids over the last decade with 
critics blaming Mugabe’s seizure of white-owned farms which they say 
resulted in a catastrophic collapse in agricultural productivity.

The government counters that sanctions imposed by the West as punishment for 
the land seizures caused the economic hardships.
The economic decline was reversed in 2009 however, with the country 
recording positive growth since, largely driven by the recovery in 

“They (blacks) are the main players in agriculture. That means, we are as 
productive as them (white commercial farmers), whether big or small 
farmers,” Mugabe said on arrival at Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur International 
Airport (KLIA) on Saturday.

The Zimbabwean leader is in Malaysia to attend the three-day Lankawi 
International Dialogue series which seeks to enhance “smart partnerships” 
between governments and the private sector in promoting development.

Mugabe said the government has focused on increasing production of food 
crops as well as tobacco, once a major export for the country.

In 2010 tobacco deliveries to the auction floors topped 122 million kgs 
after collapsing to less than 50 million kgs in the last decade.

Officials say the country is now on course to hit the 200 million kgs 
achieved during peak production periods before implementation of the land 

Meanwhile, Mugabe also dismissed claims that key regime figures had largely 
benefitted from the land reforms instead of the country’s previously 
landless majority.

“How can land just go to Mugabe’s friends and relatives? My friends are my 
people and those are the people who fought with us to drive out the 
British… therefore, the beneficiaries,” he said.

“Anyway, the land belonged to the people…we have a customary system of 
chiefs in various areas, and chiefs being custodians of lands in various 
areas on behalf of the people. We have maintained that all land is state 

He also said the mining sector had helped reboot the economy but emphasised 
the need to invest in value edition.

“Thank, God… this shows the British that we have other minerals like 
diamonds, platinum and uranium…perhaps, we continue to discover more and 
these had helped (the economic growth),” he added.


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