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 June 2010




11 JUNE 2010




Today is a special day for Africa and no article could be complete without mention of the opening of the Soccer World Cup today in which the games will be played over the next 6 weeks, between the 34 competing nations from all around the World for the prestigious gold trophy.


The Zimbabwe cricket team has also done extremely well in their opening matches in the 1-day ODI matches so congratulations to the team and many thanks for the international squads for taking time to come to our beautiful country to compete in the tournament.


In South Africa and around the World today the newspapers are therefore all headlined with news about their players in the soccer tournament. Any news about Zimbabwe would therefore be thoroughly smothered.


However, right now many of our farmers are being subjected to the well known horrors of the violent jambanjas that most of us have personally experienced over the last few years. The police in Chipinge are allegedly merely turning a blind eye to the looting and destruction and in Matabeleland it is alleged that the police are actually the main people involved in the jambanjas and arrests and prosecutions of farmers.


In Matabeleland the police are allegedly actually placed on several properties to ensure that all work is stopped; that the workers do not return to the property; and to prevent the farmer from returning home; and if he does to summarily arrest and detain him.


In complete contrast, in other hotspots around the country the police have actually been assisting and evicting the jambanja teams and allowing the farmers to continue with their work undisturbed.


There is a huge amount of speculation as to why there is such a difference and contrast in the actions of our national police force but we will leave that to your imagination until we have absolute proof.


Perhaps the newspaper article copied below may provide some of the answers to the escalation of jambanjas in the Chipinge District:


Didymus Mutasa orders villagers to defy court order


KELVIN JAKACHIRA – Jun 08 2010 11:13

Didymus Mutasa, a powerful figure in President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF political party has instructed villagers occupying a tea and coffee estate in Chipinge to disregard a court ruling ordering them to vacate the property.

Mutasa, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Zanu PF secretary for administration has justified his actions saying he was doing so to “protect the poor”.

He said Zimbabwe had a law that did not allow land cases to be solved by the courts.

Mutasa told the villagers in Chipinge at the weekend that they should not leave Makandi Tea and Coffee Estates, owned by Brendon James Scott despite the court ruling ordering them to do so.

Scott yesterday refused to comment saying his problems mounted each time he spoke to the press.

Two months ago the Chipinge Magistrates’ Court ordered that 300 villagers including nine village heads and some councillors from the town should vacate the estate because it was not gazetted for resettlement under the controversial land reform programme. Scott’s lawyer, Tinoziva Bere yesterday told NewsDay the courts had ruled in his client’s favour but complained that the police were not being
cooperative in enforcing the court order.

“There was a ruling in favour of our client but unfortunately there is no assistance from the police to enforce that court order,” Bere said in an interview. “There is disrespect for the court. They only
respect the court when they want to fix opponents or when they want to grab property,” he said.

But Mutasa, accompanied by Mike Madiro, Zanu PF chairman in Manicaland province and MP for Chipinge Central Alice Chitima, told villagers no one should move out of Makandi Estate as ordered by the courts.

Madiro added his voice saying Zanu PF would not tolerate “unscrupulous elements bent on reversing the land reform programme”.

Last night a defiant Mutasa justified his actions saying: “The court order should not have been given.

“In fact there is a law that says land issues cannot be referred to court. You can verify. I do not think the removal of these people settled at Makandi is legitimate because they have offer letters.”

He added: “I did that to protect the poor.

“In fact in my statement I said I want to protect poor people who are settled at Makandi.”

Mutasa said lawyers representing the white commercial farmer were not “sensitive” to the plight of the poor people settled at Makandi because they were being given money by rich people.

In his court application Scott challenged the continued occupation of the estate by the villagers saying it was not sanctioned by the government since Makandi Tea and Coffee Estates were not acquired for resettlement.


At the moment the “vuvuzela” is definitely beating the “jambanja” in the international and local news which is why we took the opportunity to hold a press conference early this week to highlight what is again happening on the ground before the vuvuzela takes over the news and smothers the plight of commercial farming in Zimbabwe.


It is therefore important that everything continues to be reported to Mike Clark on  at the Union in order that we can update the true record of events which continue to occur on the ground. Whilst factual information of the events is being recorded please be assured that no personal details will be released to the press without your prior permission.


Against this background please be assured that your Union will continue to act on your behalf and lobby with the powers that be to find a peaceful and long term resolution to the problems that continue to blight commercial farming in Zimbabwe. Fortunately, as one avenue closes we always seem to find a way of opening another route of dialogue through which we endeavour to resolve the situation. In fact it would almost be true to say that we are really making very good headway at the moment bar the interference from certain political individuals who continue to interfere with their unfortunate hard line approach.


Last week we took our case back to the SADC Tribunal in Windhoek and once again the Government of Zimbabwe did not oppose our application, and in fact did not even bother to turn up at court at all. From reports received we are told that the eminent judges on the bench of the Tribunal were perplexed and frustrated as they could not understand why we were bringing up the same case before them for the third time.


They felt that they had already given their favourable judgment to us on two occasions and failed to understand why we were submitting a similar application again. Our Counsel’s explanation for this was that we ourselves were frustrated because although favourable judgments had been received nothing had affected the adverse conditions against us on the ground and that the situation had in fact hardened. We again provided ample evidence of this to the Tribunal.


The learned Judges then adjourned saying that they have reserved judgment to an unspecified date. Whilst frustrating for us we would like to believe that they are equally frustrated and are perhaps working in the background behind the scenes in an effort to find an amicable resolution to the politically sensitive problem. In our application we could only suggest that the matter be brought to the attention of the SADC Summit for a resolution by the Heads of State at their next meeting sometime in July.


Our two CFU cases currently in the courts are progressing well but we are of course unable to show cause or reason for any Urgency in the matter, so we have to be patient. Be assured that our strategy is solid and that we are moving forward using the best legal opinions and advice available.


Our third case is still being slowly put together as the response of the farmers who have lost money through the RBZ has not been as good as we had initially hoped. However, affected farmers are still coming into the office with their papers and evidence every other day and the case is definitely coming together. We are still very interested to assist everybody who is still owed money by the RBZ so please contact us as soon as possible to enable us to action the case on your behalf speediously.


It goes without saying that all the above cases, as well as other legal work done on your behalf is not done for free so we once again urge all past members to come back in and pay your contributions for membership. All contributions are gratefully accepted. Please help us to help you and let us show our united strength in numbers.


At the moment Marc Carrie Wilson is away on study leave for a few weeks until about 25th of June 2010. He will also be writing his exams, the success of which would allow him registration in Zimbabwe as a legal practitioner. Although he is already qualified he obtained his degree in South Africa. Under Zimbabwean law he has to sit certain examinations before being allowed to practice in the country. We wish him all the best. In his absence please contact either Mike Clark or Ben Gilpin for assistance.




Vice President Louis Fick needs a swift response to last week’s letter from South African citizens, so that he can take the pension application forward as soon as possible:


“It has been some time since my last update, my apologies for this but I had to deal with some of my own issues on Friedawil farm and are still busy to try and get order in my life, will hopefully be back in a routine at the CFU from mid June.


I have been in touch with Willie Spies a couple of times and can assure you that Willie is still very focused and that we are still on the right track. I have said before we are going down a road where we have to deal with certain Issues before we can move on, we are very much in that stage now. I will be meeting with Willie mid July, he will by then have legal opinions on a couple of issues for the way forward and the auction of the properties in the Cape will be out of the way then.


We have given our data base to the valuation consortium to start preparing our list with values specifically for the SA Nationals and I would like to remind you to get your data re your farms to Louise O’Conner ,  if you have not completed the requested form yet, please email Louise and ask her about your status.  I would like to have this database ready for Willie by mid July.


Lastly, we have spent a lot of time on the pensions issue for SA Nationals. We have basically been tasked to get a list of applicants ready and there are basically two options:


1)    SA Nationals who would like to relocate to SA (Old age home) and apply for a pension.

2)    SA Nationals who would like to remain in Zimbabwe and apply for pension (No home options).


If you are interested in one of the above options please send us your name and SA ID no. This list of applicants will also be going down to SA mid July.  We will confirm your email if you would like to apply, in case you do not get a confirmation email please try again or get hold of Louise on the CFU landline. (Please apply to Louis O’Conner’s email as mentioned above.)


More details will be made available at a later stage.”


Although we were led to believe that the South African BIPPA had actually come into effect we copy below an extract from one of the latest legal reports from Veritas:


BIPPA with South Africa Not Yet in Force


The Agreement between South Africa and Zimbabwe for the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments [commonly referred to as BIPPA] was signed in Harare on 27th November 2009.  In March it was approved by both Houses of Parliament, as required by section 111B of the Constitution and it was ratified by President Mugabe on 11th May. 

Legally, however, the BIPPA will only come into force 30 days after both countries have notified each other that they have fulfilled their “respective constitutional requirements for entry into force” [BIPPA, Article 12].  Zimbabwe has now fulfilled its constitutional requirements.  The exchange of notifications has not yet taken place, so the BIPPA is not yet in force.


A copy of the BIPPA is on our website and please note that access should now be a bit easier as we have removed the Open Forum, which was apparently an impediment into logging in through Google. All new articles may be accessed right at the bottom left of the front page. Let us have your feedback so we can improve the site.

Also from the South African Embassy was the following about the reintroduction of visas:




Transit visas have been reinstated and as from 1 June 2010, all foreigners from non-visa exempt countries travelling en-route through the Republic of South Africa to and from neighbouring countries (i.e. the Kingdom of Lesotho, the Kingdom of Swaziland, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Mozambique) will be required to be in possession of and to produce a valid transit visa upon entering South Africa.


The South African Embassy in Harare has informed us that the cost of a transit visa is USD45, copy of air ticket, 2 passport size photos must be submitted in person (not through a third party) with the completed application form. Transit visa processing time is estimated to take 3-5 days.


Further information indicates that visas are also required for Zimbabweans visiting South Africa have also been reinstated.




Below is a message from the Valcon team:





1.     Many people with whom we have to deal know little of what Commercial Agriculture was prior to 2000, together with the huge role it played in the economy of the country.


2.     At a glance the completed map produced from Valcon data compiled from farmers registration of their properties, will show the enormity of what has taken place, where in the year 2000, farm production before value added, etc stood at $3,347 billion (which with inflation today would be around $5 – $6 billion). Production today is down to around $1 billion.


3.     It puts into perspective, the global figure for compensation for lost farms.


4.     It will make clear the percentage of land owned by Commercial Agriculture, including the CSC and ARDA properties in 1980, which is approximately 35%.


5.     It will clearly show how many titles of properties would be eligible for compensation.


6.     It demonstrates the extent of properties bought by Government on a willing buyer / seller basis since Independence.


7.     It clearly shows the number of properties bought by black farmers on a willing buyer / seller basis since 1980.


8.     From information derived from individual titles, it would be able to show the

significant diversification that was taking place in Agriculture between 1980 and 2000, namely into  horticulture,  game ranching, etc. as well as, the huge strides made in expanding irrigation. Today the reverse has taken place in all those areas.



I believe that when the map is completed and accurate, it will play a major role in the overall compensation exercise. This requires assistance from farmers themselves to complete the gaps in information on the map.


Further, if you are not on the database, we would recommend that you get on to it by completing the Valcon registration forms for your properties. It costs nothing and could help you significantly, as and when compensation is dealt with. Valcon will also be in a position to give a more accurate assessment of what the global figure for compensation will be. This will be invaluable in any future negotiations with regard to compensation and restitution.




On Tuesday this week CFU Council was held followed by another well attended Open Farmers’ Meeting which has become a very popular function which has been held on every second Tuesday of every month. Farmers are coming from all over the country and is often attended by farmers who may be in the country visiting from overseas. The next meeting will be held on July 13 2010.


We have sent out our recommendations on the back payment of wages again this week as there have been a number of queries. Our Labour Advisor, Tongai Marodza, has been extremely busy over the last few weeks handling several strikes by labour which appear to have been fuelled by some of the labour organisations.


Unfortunately the relevant minister has been outside the country for a while but as soon as he gets back the three Unions will be meeting with him to seek clarification on the unprecedented back payments issue.


The Union will be raffling a second hand vehicle from its aged fleet every month for the next 5 months or so in an effort to raise funds for the Union. There are 200 tickets available at US$20 on each draw and as soon as the last ticket is bought the draw will take place. We felt that by using this method the chance of buying a cheap car would be available to those who cannot afford one and also the total amount raised for each vehicle would be far higher than the expected market price. Tickets are available to anyone.


The preparations for Congress 2010 are now far advanced. It should be noted that Congress is open to all non-members this time but only paid up members would be allowed to vote, by using a coloured card to indicate their authority to vote.


The invitation is therefore open to all our farmers to attend but Regional Chairmen were tasked with giving an estimated list of attendees from their provinces. We request therefore that those who do wish to attend Congress on the 2nd and 3rd of August 2010 should give their details to the relevant Chairmen or to Head Office directly.


The continued ZESA load-shedding has seriously affected the production of wheat this season, which is estimated to produce only 10 000 tonnes of the 400 000 tonne annual national requirement. Should this continue the yields per hectare and therefore the total yield will also significantly decrease due to the adverse effects of sporadic watering.


There was lengthy debate on the proposed licence fee resolution, but this would only be concluded at Congress.


Elections are also due to be held in the regions for new leadership.


Please remember that our doors are always open and you are welcome to come in and chat about your personal problems or suggestions.




An Explanation on the CFU Recovery Proposal by Pete Steyl Chairman ARAC – Agricultural Recovery and Compensation


There appears to be a lot of misconceptions involving CFU and compensation and, as chairman of ARAC, would like to clarify many of the uncertainties including how the compensation proposal materialized.


A bit of history: – Towards the end of 2009, outgoing President, Trevor Gifford was given a concept idea by Terry Mooney who was the political Attaché at the Canadian Embassy in Harare. This paper formed the basis of the recovery and compensation proposal. He suggested that our best chance of getting compensation was to ensure that it became part of a structured plan which adhered to international business principles and which led to the recovery of the Zimbabwean Economy.  President Deon Theron then tasked Vice President Charlie Taffs to run with this new initiative. 


A country wide tour was undertaken and in excess of 600 farmers were shown a power-point presentation. The idea was to get ‘buy in’ from the farmers in order to build upon this concept and make it ‘home-grown’. I accompanied Vice President Taffs on this tour – the debate was constructive, and the plan was very well received.


We then targeted the Diplomatic Corp and other influential groups including the ‘Fishmonger’ group.  Once again getting ‘buy in’ and continuous input further developed the concept. Almost 50 embassies have been visited and the proposal has been made available to all the regional leaders. The ANC and the DP at their invitation have both commended the proposal as a real way forward for agriculture and the country as a whole.


The Word Bank, IMF, African Development Bank and other international and local financial institutions, the business community, respected professional economists and legal experts and others have been widely consulted for their essential input.


Once again there was a positive and encouraging response.


The next hurdle was to sell it to the Government including all 3 parties in the GNU which have had access or been shown this proposal right up to Vice Presidents offices. The reaction to this proposal across the political divide has been extremely positive and negotiations are ongoing.


There is now a realization amongst many of the circles in Government that Compensation is a pre-requisite to recovery and that Title is essential. The CFU is now getting the recovery /compensation proposal onto a professional DVD that Diplomats and other influential partners can widely distribute back to their countries, leaders and others of importance including organizations such as World Bank, IFC, African Development Bank, UN and Government, as well as our own members who request it.


Essential to the proposal is professionally compiled information that is able to quantify the individual and composite extent of the value of farms that have been acquired. As most of you are aware Valcon – Valuation Consortium is gathering this information into a data base and which has been constructed in such a way that it can be used to assess valuation according to any required model. I am aware that some members are not happy to give Valcon their details and chose not to be recorded. It must be pointed out that Valcon and CFU have an MOU and there is no charge for a farmer to include his information in the data base. Land owners are encouraged to participate. This exercise is to enable the compilation of a composite figure for total compensation of land and improvements. An individual farmer has no obligation to use a valuation done by Valcon as the basis to substantiate his own claim; farmers may prefer to use a different professional valuator. For those who have already paid Valcon for a professional valuation, such charge will be offset against any further professional fees levied on a successful claim. In the final analysis this part of your claim must be compiled by a professional valuator. Valcon’s integrity and professional credibility has already been tested and proven as in the Dutch Case in Paris. I would like to further point out that according to FAO guidelines the cost of valuation and legal costs etc can be claimed as consequential costs.


Our real strength is that we have well documented and professional information to use in our bid for compensation. It is essential that every single farmer becomes part of this data base.


We will continue with our legal strategy both internally and externally and will continue to update you on all these initiatives.


 I hope that the above explanation gives a broad background to the way the proposal was developed and just how far it has come since its inception. This is a work in progress and not cast in stone, so if anyone would like to make a contribution we welcome your comments. We will keep you updated on other aspects of our ongoing work and encourage you to pass this on to others who might also be interested in renewing their contacts with the Union.


Best regards

Pete Steyl

Chairman ARAC




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


Maize prices internationally and regionally continue to fall.


For those farmers who have planted wheat and are interested in insuring their crop against fire, please send me your farm name and hectares planted as we have managed to secure a good rate for you.


We have received a fair response on your tractor requirements, however I am sure some of you probably missed this, so I have included it with this week’s CFU Calling again.  This is not a bad offer and is a great chance for you to start renewing your tractor fleet.


We are doing a survey on your current tractor requirements – wish list if you like (not brand specific) – based on the following assumptions;


i)              Finance available over 3 years;

ii)             Cost of finance; 8-10% / annum

iii)            Initial deposit;  30%

iv)           Surety ship;  This would be required


We would appreciate it if you could take the time to complete your requirements and contact details in the box below and forward to Pam Cooper E-mail Address or Richard Taylor E-mail Address














Number required








































































































Contact details:






Farm /Business;









Our Commodities Forum Combined AGM draws ever nearer and promises to be a good one. Your support at the Forum will be greatly appreciated as now more than ever, it is important for us all to stand together united.


So come join us at Troutbeck from 5 July to 7 July where we have a list of good speakers on various agricultural topics that I am sure will keep your attention and interest, for those that are lovers of good wine, Monday evening is the Cheese and Wine Cocktail Function and Opening Ceremony.


Tuesday morning kicks off with the combined A.G.M.’s followed by speakers.  In the afternoon, we have the various sporting activities for those that wish to enjoy a social afternoon, a stroll around the golf course, a tranquil game of bowls and more, or a cast with a fly rod for those elusive trout in the fresh Nyanga mountain air.


Should all of the above not be enough to entice you to join us, then please show this to the wife as there will be hairdressing and make-up on the Tuesday afternoon for the ladies prior to a romantic evening at the Dairy Dinner and Dance.


Should you wish to join us, and would like details on where to book, please contact Pam on or Debbie on


Looking forward to seeing you all there.


Local as at 11 June 2010 US$







White Maize






Yellow Maize






Maize Bran












Soyabean Meal













400 (t.b.a.)











Wheat Bran























South African Foreign Exchange (SAFEX) as at 11 June 2010




Import Parity


Import Parity


White Maize





Yellow Maize




















International Gulf





Import Parity

















Source: South African Grain Information Service (SAGIS)




A reminder that the Commodities Forum AGM 2010 meeting at Troutbeck Nyanga is taking place from 05 to 07 July 2010.  A circular letter with details about this meeting has been sent out via e-mail a few times to the NADF group mailing list.  Should you not have received this, please e-mail and Debbie will gladly forward this to you.


Please be advised that Troutbeck Hotel are now fully booked for this event. You will need to contact the other hotels in the area for accommodation should you still wish to attend.



Due to lack of attendance at the Mashonaland A meeting held at Lonely Park Enterprise on Wednesday 2nd June 2010 a further MASHONALAND A REGIONAL ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING will be held at in the CFU Dining Room on Wednesday 16th June 2010 at 10.00a.m.  Farmers please make every effort to attend this meeting.


Rob Van Vuuren has attended the Regional AGM Meetings held in Mutare, Chipinge, Bulawayo and Gweru.  Once the rescheduled Mashonaland A Regional AGM Meeting has been held, he will report fully on these meetings.



We are waiting for the next drawdown order of vaccines to arrive in Harare.  Stocks are running very low and there is still no Rift Valley Fever vaccine in stock.



Sue Bell and Linda Nielsen are visiting Gokwe and Umzingwane this week.





































































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