Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

***The views expressed in the articles published on this website DO NOT necessarily express the views of the Commercial Farmers' Union.***

CFU Calling (11 December 2009)

cfu calling

cfu calling

 

11 DECEMBER 2009

 

EXECUTIVE NEWS

 

The enthusiasm, conscientiousness and vigorous energy of the new team are becoming contagious, extremely exciting and encouraging. It has come at a time when commercial agriculture in Zimbabwe is probably at its lowest ebb and for all intent and purpose more dead than alive due to destructive forces being brought against it.

 

However, the current team, which includes our very able executive staff, are refusing to take all this lying down and have embarked on a new initiative in which they are confident that our fortunes will change in the New Year ahead of us.

 

Every day we have the pleasure of meeting either farmers who are still active or those who have tragically been forced off their farms and out of their homes, who have come to our office to discuss or report their problems. They information that they bring in is extremely important for us to receive. It is properly recorded and filed, with a comprehensive monthly report compiled, which is widely distributed to various organisations and government. However, it is only sent to the ‘trusted’ press reporters who would contact us for permission before publishing any details about individual incidents. We in turn seek that permission from the individual involved.

 

When the fast track land acquisition started in 2000 the average age of our farmers was 56 years old – we are now 10 years down the line and we are finding that the majority of our members are now over 70 years old!

 

To be down and out and destitute in your latter years through absolutely no fault of your own is a humanitarian tragedy which should never have happened and most certainly a human rights crime of huge proportion. Although your union has been aware of this problem we were not sure of the actual reality or scale of the problem. Therefore the Farmers in Touch (FIT) team, together with Vice President Taffs have been working together with other voluntary bodies and organisations to identify those affected by this humanitarian disaster caused by the destruction of property rights and the destruction of the value of insurance policies, pensions and medical aid cover through the resultant super-hyperinflation.

 

Having recognised the scale of the problem and by identifying some 4 200 affected people the FIT team will be rebranded and expanded early in the new year in order to be of assistance to these people who, like our forefathers, whose hard work and foresight actually built this country to what it is. We owe it to them that they should not suffer in their latter years through absolutely no fault of their own.

 

As mentioned in previous editions of this newsletter, in order to assist us with our plans for assistance of these folk and to kick start agriculture in Zimbabwe again, it is absolutely essential that everybody comes back on board so that we may present a united front under the ‘Mother body’ – being the Union. Yes, we have had our differences of the past, but now is the time when we need to put these totally behind us so that we may move forward together.

 

We therefore encourage all our farmers of the past, present and the future to come in and register and update their membership with the Union. In order to encourage this, and with a special consideration of the elderly, the fees were brought down considerably this year. They are as follows:

 

Farmers still in production                                   USD600 per annum

Farmers who are no longer in production USD100 per annum

Farmers (ex) over 70 years old                           USD10 per annum

 

At the moment our team has been touring the country to meet with farmers and to discuss our proposals on the way forward for the Union and our farming community and we urge everyone to attend. Today the final meetings for the year will be held in Harare and Marondera.

 

You may, or maybe not know already that all the agricultural unions in Zimbabwe have received capacity building grants from the European Union, which is greatly appreciated and could not have come at a better time. Part of the grant has been used to renew our vehicle fleet, which was fast disintegrating and falling apart. The new vehicles will allow us better mobility and enable us to get around the country to update farmers still on the ground more regularly and to address their problems individually.

 

However, although the grant has been of huge assistance to your Union to ready itself to move forward, hopefully in the near future, it is still absolutely essential that we aim to be once again financially self-sufficient. Therefore, although we can in fact say that the subscription fees have been subsidised by the grant it is important that in the coming years that our fees from the increased membership can adequately cover the running costs of the union. 

 

This week there was another tragedy in Chegutu with the unfortunate death of local farmer Mr Bart Wilde in a motor vehicle accident. He will be sadly missed by both his family and his community. The President and Council express their sincere condolences at the sad loss.

 

Although we are still waiting for official announcements on the future of our country following the intervention of SADC in an effort to resolve the impasse within Government and the full implementation of the GPA, we have been encouraged by certain aspects which were listed as priorities during our Prime Minister’s speech in Parliament this week – namely:

 

·         Promote Economic Growth and Ensure Food Security

·         Guarantee Basic Services and Infrastructural Development

·         Strengthen & Ensure the Rule of Law and Respect for Property Rights

·         Advance and Safeguard Basic Freedoms

·         Re-establish International Relations.

 

On the ground there seems to be a bit of change in direction at the moment. However, we do urge everyone to be very careful of any approached by individuals, especially those now wanting to ‘make deals’. We must remember that the pressure is now on to bring finality to the unlawful acquisition of our properties – and this is from both aspects, being either the owner or the beneficiary.

 

Whilst we may be detecting a split in how the beneficiaries of our properties are viewing the situation at the moment we need to be very careful indeed and stick to the laws of this country. This has always been the position of your Union and in particular we stick rigidly to the following:

 

·         A directive should be sent to all Provincial Police Headquarters to instruct then to react to and stop immediately any disruptions to farming activity on our farms.

·         The Attorney-General needs to stop all prosecutions (evictions) against farmers under the Gazetted Land (Consequential Provisions) Act.

·         All evictions of farmers need to cease immediately.

·         All Court orders taken out by farmers in their defence need to be respected and obeyed.

·         The Rule of Law needs to be implemented immediately and must be non-selective.

 

From our perspective we would prefer that we all insist on rather looking at resolving the problem globally rather than on an individual or personal basis. We see far more of an overall advantage being gained by this approach rather than each individual possibly backing down to the demands of the greedy.

 

However, in saying this we would never abandon efforts to assist individuals and if we stick to the routes as dictated by the law there are some advantages. An example of this was last Friday when Mrs Hester Theron was granted a stay of her eviction pending the outcome of her appeal in a groundbreaking case in the High Court.

 

In the past, when a farmer has been evicted under the Gazetted Land (Consequential Provisions) Act there has always been an uneasy debate as to whether the appeal against the conviction suspended the eviction. Basically nobody wanted to challenge the system with a suspended term of incarceration hanging over their head.

 

Mrs Theron has cleared the ground for others with her case as basically the judge threw out her case saying the application was unnecessary because, “Both counsels agreed that the noting of appeal has the effect of suspending the order of eviction.” In fact he felt that the application was so unnecessary that he declared that the application for the declaratory order failed and was dismissed. In other words, according to his judgment there was no need to make the application because an appeal immediately suspends the eviction.

 

How many others would be in a similar position? It would still be wise to act on the advice of your lawyer should you feel you are in similar circumstance.

 

At the moment we are putting several important cases together in order to ensure our future security as well as making it plainly clear that the exercise which has been carried out against our farmers has been totally illegal and political. We may be calling upon some of our members to do affidavits for this exercise. Success in this would also set the stage for our compensation proposal.

 

We have been receiving a few reports where farmers have been receiving outrageous and apparently unjustified accounts from ZESA and ZINWA. Marc Carrie Wilson is working on this at the moment and you are encouraged to contact him should you be in a similar position – marc@cfuzim.org

 

Vice President Louis Fick is working hard on how to move forward with the recently successful South African High Court Consent Order which was granted on behalf of the South African citizens who own land in Zimbabwe. We encourage anyone who has a valid South African ID number to please ensure that your name is on his list. This week he met with the South African Embassy in Harare and found them quite active in seeking a solution to the unlawful acquisition of property in Zimbabwe belonging to South Africans. His email address is lfick@cfuzim.org

A scanned copy of the South Africa/Zimbabwe Bilateral Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement (BIPPA) has just been received in the Adobe format. The document is being typed into a Word document which would be far easier to send around by email. Please contact either Louis Fick on his email or Mike Clark on mashc@cfuzim.org 

 

COMMODITY UPDATE

 

ZIMBABWE CROP PRODUCERS ASSOCIATION (from the desk of Richard Taylor)

 

Well been back in Zimbabwe for three months and been with CFU for just on two and a half months. What does this have to do with my report or what is happening out there?

 

It is clear that this country is no longer the cheap place that we were used to. We are having to adapt to the hard currency that is the currency of the day. Gone are the days of just, Come on darling lets go for a meal, or picking up the phone and telling Bruce to meet at the pub as the eagle has landed. The cash is just not there for these frivolities on a regular basis. Farming in many ways used to be a way of life and we always seemed to get by and have humour along the way. Nowadays, farming is very much a business. If we do not have a cash flow and do not religiously stick by it we are going down. Just as life in the city, we have to budget on a monthly basis and if we don’t stick to the budget, we don’t get to have a drink with the mates or take the family out for an expensive meal. Companies here still think that we are in the inflation days, hell a curry the squirts and rice for + $ 20.00 per person, a 85hp tractor for $ 40,000, (are they mad) +12% compounded interest, the house and the shirt off your back, thugs wanting the remaining farms, where are we going.

 

We are going nowhere. The resilience of the farmers and ex farmers out there is astounding. We have got to track our money and inputs down to the last cent, fight the thugs, courts, companies and banks in order to survive but survive we will and have humour along the way. Humour – another outstanding attribute of the Zimbabwean farmer.   

 

Down to the business side of things. Fertilizer; AN continues to be a thorn in the side. A break down at sable (the bagging plant) meant no deliveries to Windmill or ZFC this week. Normal supplies should begin this weekend (if one can believe their promises). At a meeting with the companies yesterday we told them that they had better start to import AN to fulfil their side of the deal. Windmill has already put in an order for CAN which should be on its way from SA in a day or two. ZFC have placed an order for CAN but are waiting for wagons (don’t hold your breath). They have asked; please if you have a voucher for compound D and have not collected, please make a plan to collect. Should your voucher have expired please come into CFU offices and Kudakwashe Ndoro will sort it out for you. If you arrive at the depot to collect fertilizers with an expired voucher you will be turned away.

 

Till next week and here’s to rain and humour.

 

Local as at 11 December 2009 (US$)

 

Please email help@cfuzim.org for the full CFU Calling with Graphs

 

South African Foreign Exchange (SAFEX) as at 11 December 2009

 

Please email help@cfuzim.org for the full CFU Calling with Graphs

 

International Gulf

 

Please email help@cfuzim.org for the full CFU Calling with Graphs

 

Source: South African Grain Information Service (SAGIS)

 

 

 

 

 

ACE Trade Report for 11 December 2009

 

Wholesale prices in selected countries in East Africa are supplied by (RATIN) the Regional Agricultural Trade Intelligence Network. Current prices are indicated below and are valid as at 01 December 2009.

(N.B. Changes shown are calculated on the basis of today’s prices against those previously recorded, which may not necessarily be the previous days).

 

Please email help@cfuzim.org for the full CFU Calling with Graphs

 

Excerpts from the ZAMACE price report for 09 December 2009.

 

Please email help@cfuzim.org for the full CFU Calling with Graphs

 

The following prices are also made available to us courtesy of SAFEX.

 

Please email help@cfuzim.org for the full CFU Calling with Graphs

 

Exchange Rates

MWK 18.77 = 1 ZAR            UP

MWK 142.17 = 1 US$          UP

ZAR 7.56 = I US$                 Unchanged

 

COMMENTS AND VIEWS

Please let us know your comments and views on items contained within this issue or any other issues of CFU Calling by sending an email to us on dir@cfuzim.orgDisclaimer: This email and files transmitted with it contain confidential and privileged information and are intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to which they are addressed. If you have received this email in error please — do not read, disseminate, distribute, copy or take action in reliance on this email and- delete it immediately and arrange for the deletion thereof on your server, and- notify the administrator immediately. Any unauthorised, use duplication or interception of this e-mail or any files transmitted with it is expressly and strictly prohibited. No representation, guarantee or undertaking (expressed or implied) is made or given- As to the confidentiality or security of the e-mail system’ or as to the accuracy of the information in this email and any files transmitted with it is virus-free. No responsibility or liability is accepted for: the proper, complete transmission of the information contained in this email or any files transmitted with it or any delay in its receipt; or rising from or as a result of the use of or reliance on the content of this email or any files transmitted with it. Any views expressed in this email or any files transmitted with it are not necessarily the views of the Commercial Farmers’ Union. Queries regarding this email or any files transmitted with it should be directed to dir@cfuzim.org. This disclaimer forms part of the content of this e-mail for purposes of section 11 of the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act 2002 (Act No. 25 of 2002).

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