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 16 July 2010



16 July 2010 




At the beginning of the week there was an apparent lessening of attacks against our remaining farmers whilst on other fronts we were enjoying a few quieter successes. Of course the headlines that one of the main instigators of violence and looting has now met with the same fate of many of our innocent farmers in that he has been incarcerated and dragged before the courts, has certainly lifted the spirits of a few.


In addition, two very interesting statements were recently made at the opening of Parliament this week:


Minister Biti said the following:


“For as long as there are no title deeds, the land is a dead asset. If we say that we want to develop this economy through agriculture, then we need banks to come in and finance agriculture ….” “We need to restore the land market through title deeds or securitised leases guaranteed and supported by an Act of Parliament, not by an offer letter, which can be ignored the moment someone powerful appears.” “If we say that land is the most important resource in this country, then it is imperative that there is security of tenure.”


Interestingly the President was also quoted in his opening speech on similar lines in the bringing back of mortgages etc. He also spoke of loans and guarantees for housing which is very encouraging indeed because at least the problem is being finally recognised. So now there is a need to find a way to overcome these stumbling blocks and to implement a solution to move forward.


However, there are still groups who seem hell bent on the course of destruction and looting who are still causing mayhem on the ground in order to follow their own agendas.


On Wednesday night a group of three armed persons broke into an elderly lady’s home in Chipinge village (situated next door to the Police Station) and severely assaulted her. It is suspected that they were from the law enforcement agencies and had come to arrest her son-in-law who was recently violently evicted from his highly productive Chipinge property. He was away at the time.


Then yesterday (Thursday) three farmers were arrested by police in the Nyamandhlovu district and have been denied access to the court until Monday next week. We believe the farmers have prior orders of protection from the courts and currently the South African Embassy is doing its best to obtain their release.


Whilst talking of the South Africans Vice President Louis Fick sent out the following email to the South African group which requires the attention of many in order to beat the deadline:


We have 129 farmers who have registered on our list wanting pensions, please do not assume that if you are registered on the SA Nationals list that you automatically will be added to this list. There are options and we need you to indicate to us that you want to be registered. You will receive a confirmation email from Louise once you have applied, if you are not sure please get hold of Louise at


I will be leaving for SA next week and would not want late entries to delay this process.


At Council it was bemoaned that whilst foreign investors from BIPPA countries were often specially protected their Zimbabwean citizen counterparts were being completely ignored and were taking the brunt of the land acquisitions and lootings and were not protected either by their own government or the governments of the SADC countries.


This week in Parliament the Minister of Finance the Honourable Biti presented the half-year Budget. The following summary has kindly been done by Neil Wright:


The review covered a wide range of issues and much detail was given of economic developments since the last budget statement in December last year.


The economy this year is expected to grow by 5.4% which is down from the previous projection of 7.0%. Agriculture is expected to grow by 18.8%, mainly due to the much larger tobacco crop, and mining to expand by 31%, down from the original projection of 40%. Other sectors have generally performed below expectations. Inflation is forecast to reach 4.5% by year end. Budgeted expenditure remains at US$2.25 billion while revenue performance will improve to US$1.7 billion.


Fiscal changes are as follows:-


On income tax, the tax free threshold has been increased from US$160 to US$175 per month effective 1/9/10.

The PAYE remittance date has been extended from the 3rd to the 10th of the following month effective 1/9/10

The VAT payment date has been extended from the 10th to the 15th of the following month effective 1/9/10

Day old chicks are to be zero rated for VAT effective 1/9/10.


Withholding tax on non-residents remittances to be reduced from 20% to 15% effective 1/9/10

Capital Gains Tax on unlisted securities to be reduced from 10% to 5% effective 1/9/10

The tax exemption on interest earned on foreign currency accounts has been repealed. This now affects all accounts earning interest as they are all denominated in foreign currency.


The special initial allowance of 150% on the cost of plant and machinery purchased by small and medium enterprises is to be reduced to 100% effective 1/1/11


The suspension of customs duty on vehicles imported by tourist operators is to be withdrawn on 1/9/10

Rebates of duty on duty free certificates issued under an export incentive scheme; newspapers and other publications; and bicycle assembly parts are to be repealed effective 1/8/10


Royalties on precious metals are to be increased from 3.5% to 4.0% effective 1/10/10. The export tax on chrome to be increased from 15% to 20% from 1/8/10.


Most of the basic items that had customs duty suspended have had the suspension extended to 31st December, 2010. However others (eg margarine, soaps, cosmetics, etc) are to have duties reimposed from 1/8/10.

Regarding customs duties on other items certain selected finished products which were duty free will have duty imposed to protect local industries, and certain raw materials will have customs duties reduced, effective 1/8/10.

Customs duties on clothing and footwear are to be reduced, and on energy saving items removed effective 1/8/10.


Excise duties on imported wines and spirits are to be increased effective 1/8/10.


As you may know your Union goes to great lengths to ensure the security of your information so we were quite surprised this week when we received the below email from a newspaper editor. Surprisingly we found our website still intact at the time of the receipt of this email. The article also quoted an interview with the “CFU official”, which did not in fact take place.


However the next morning it was discovered that  the website was no longer in operation. Our team of computer program technicians worked until midnight on Wednesday night and the site was up again on Thursday morning.


We certainly appreciate their hard work and new firewalls will be put in place to protect the externally based site. At least we now know that the site is beneficial to our members and researchers as well as being perceived as a threat, which is why it was hacked into. Fortunately the 600-odd articles on there were successfully saved.


HARARE – A new “cyber war” has been declared against Zimbabwe’s beleaguered white farmers after hackers attacked and disabled the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) website this week.

A hacker, calling himself Shadow D3v1L, swooped on the CFU on Monday, shutting down the website which had become a useful communication tool between the union and its members.

“The attack took place on Monday after the hackers managed to get through the union’s computer security system,” a CFU official told The Zimbabwean.

The attack disabled the website, inserting the words such as “Sas-Terrorist”, “Jerusalem Hacker” and “Crack-Man” on the home page.

The CFU website had become an important tool through which the union communicated vital information to its members, the majority of whom are fighting President Robert Mugabe’s government in court over his
controversial land reform programme.

The union was Monday frantically trying to restore its website while at the same time ascertaining whether the hackers were operating outside Zimbabwe or within the country.

The attack came as the CFU appeared to be making some headway in its battle to force Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) to agree to pay compensation for farms expropriated since 2000 and to stop its violent campaign to evict remaining
white farmers from their properties.


Looking at the number of hits on our website it is obviously becoming quite popular reading. When surfing the site the new articles are listed at the bottom of the front page for your convenience – Any suggestions or criticism are welcomed so we can make the site more user friendly and provide the kind of information which you want to see on there. You can contact us through the website category “Contact Us” situated on the left hand side menu bar.


On Tuesday this week we had our monthly CFU Council meeting which was followed by the Open Farmer’s Meeting. At Council the final arrangements for Congress work worked on and the CEO requested that names of regional delegates and outstanding annual reports should be finalised as they were now overdue.


President Theron reiterated that our policy has always been to look after the interests of all our groups of farmers in whatever situation they are currently in and that both he and Council provide equal time for each group. There have been some accusations made in the past against young farmers who are not sitting back just waiting for compensation and have made a plan to get on with farming.


Although it is felt that they are taking a huge risk financially in view of the current situation, after considerable debate the Council offered them their full support saying they would do everything they could to encourage them. We felt that they are the future of our industry and should therefore deserve to be encouraged instead of being criticised or sidelined.


We are currently involved in negotiation on the supply of subsidised fertiliser and other inputs through the STABEX funding from the EU. However it was emphasised that nothing has yet been confirmed as the person we deal with is currently on leave and will only be returning next week. There is also a time delay until the scheme kicks in. This is caused by the slow administrative process which has to be followed, initially in the application and later in the drawing up of papers. Those interested should keep in touch with our offices and also let us know their requirements.


Our two trustees have let it be known to us that they feel they have done enough time with the Union and would not stand for re-election at Congress. Their voluntary service with the union covers many years and has been greatly appreciated indeed. Nominations are therefore open for consideration of two people to fill the two positions, which will be confirmed at Congress. Please let us know of any people you may consider to be suitable for the position of Trustee of the Union.


Council was followed by the Open Farmers Meeting which also stimulated considerable interesting debate over a few issues, which we find extremely encouraging especially under the ongoing period of crisis in the industry. Minutes were taken at the meeting but once completed they would not be generally circulated and only available in hard copy on request.


Congress will be held on the 2nd and 3rd of August 2010 and all farmers, whether currently farming or not are invited. The event will be held over 2 days with the first day being a closed session where all farmers can become fully involved in any debates where we will be very interested to hear your points of view.


The guest speakers at Congress will be Dr Theo de Jager of AgriSA who will speak about land reform and John Robertson will talk about the current inflation we are experiencing in Zimbabwe – despite the use of a relatively stable currency. The outgoing EU Ambassador Xavier Marshal will also give a presentation to Congress.


The judgment was delivered in Windhoek this morning in the L. K. Fick vs Zimbabwe case in the SADC Tribunal. The ruling was in our favour and referred the matter to the SADC Summit. The full judgment will be posted on the website once received.




This week we have experienced a cyber attack on our website, a sure sign that we are attracting interest out there. We have now sent out over twenty newsletters and continue to receive feedback comment and new contacts. We recently sent out the short version of the recovery document with an explanation of the diagrams. There is a lot of interest in this, also some criticism from those who are rights and law focused. Sometimes, I believe, little regard is taken of the reality we are dealing with.


If we exclusively focus on the violations of rights that have occurred in the last ten years and then only on the losses that farmers have faced, we lose track of the context of our ongoing crisis. It is distressing that a number of correspondents flight their criticisms of our offices and the CFU in other fora without acknowledgement to the responses they have received and any critical appreciation of the significant changes that have and are taking place within the Union. There is plenty of interest and we are liaising specifically with a small group in New Zealand, Australia and elsewhere to coordinate external members. These are a few questions we recently asked and the general response:


Ø  Are we reaching our target and are we doing the right stuff? We must aim at 2500 members.  


Ø  Are we providing real service to our members? Improving


Ø  What is our relationship like with former membersIt has been very poor and hence the low membership level.


Ø  Is our purpose clear? It is now, but compensation has to be the prime objective as that is what is required by the majority of previous members.  Rebuilding agriculture will come after that.


Ø  What are we not doing that can make the difference? The fee for rejoining CFU is too high for many, and for those resident out of Africa the process to rejoin must be simplified.


There are a number of common issues that have been raised and all have been voiced at Council:


1.     The need to establish individual country reps for each of the principal external concentrations of former farmers


2.     The need to ensure communications to all involved are improved


3.     The need to establish a fair membership fee


4.     The need to create a platform for accountable and inclusive  representation on the council of the Union


5.     The need to have a clear policy and strategy on the way forward


6.     The need to ensure the best and most competent team is in place to achieve all the above.


Clearly our success in all spheres will depend on our ability to build and sustain good relationships with our members and other partners. This is essential to our core business and necessitates trying to find balance and understanding in the relationship between recovery and compensation. It has become increasingly clear that the two cannot be viewed in isolation; there remains the very real need to facilitate the cooperation and understanding of the two distinctly different sectors of our Union membership. Our Tuesday farmers’ meeting certainly shows just how strong feelings are and what considerable skill will be needed by our leadership to continue the process of reconstructing unity of the farming sector. We believe that considerable progress has been made and hope that this will continue.


Amongst the regular queries to our office are those regarding Valcon data base and Agric Africa mandates and fees .The two concern quite different aspects of our quest. Essentially Valcon are a quantifier and expert witness that can be used to argue in a court. Agric Africa sees their role as a service provider in the actual pursuit of compensation; where they directly facilitate this as in the Dutch case they will clearly have earned their fee. We recently met with the local AA shareholders and we are in communication with Bob Fernandes. We have requested a resolution at their next AGM soon to be held in Zambia to explain to members the actual situation regarding their mandate and a success fee. In any event the first prize for all is to achieve the compensation and then we are sure concerns over the commissions will take their proper place.


Both ARAC subcommittees have met in the past few weeks.  On the projects side the most significant issue is the recent signing by CFU of an MOU with ZFU (Zimbabwe Farmers Union), aimed at developing a framework for projects that will be of mutual benefit. We will now need to put a lot of work into the planned projects. We unfortunately had to postpone a legal think tank meeting. We will reschedule this in the next week; we are still awaiting opinions on the way forward for mothballed companies. If you have other issues to raise please send them in. On the Welfare side we have been able to coordinate the distribution of our second delivery of food packs. We have met with THI and hope that we will get some more targeted support from them to assist our work and the ongoing work of FFT. We anticipate signing an MOU with RAU (Research and Advocacy Unit) shortly; this should assist a great deal in our advocacy work.


Amongst other activities ARAC has had a think tank session on the way forward for the Union. We also have held a number of meeting s with SACFA and exchanged correspondence with them. It is hoped that these efforts will in due course bring a closer understanding and possible unity. From other sectors there are concerns that a premature resolution of compensation will leave the other victim groups behind. We are sure that all our diverse efforts and points of view have value in seeking a way forward for the whole country and believe that congress on 2nd August will give a great opportunity for thorough debate. We hope to see many of you there and would encourage any who are considering attending to let us know to ensure adequate catering arrangements are planned.




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


Our ZCPA AGM is over. Another successful AGM been and gone!


As stated in my last letter we were having a talk from Roy Ormerod of Croplink on marketing. A good presentation, but sadly not much good news. Part of Roy’s talk as shown below.


Local Commodity Prices as at the end of June.

White Maize: Millers/Croplink price top quality $240 per metric tonne delivered Hre. 14 days or $220 on Farm. Import parity $260 (92%)

Comparison: July 2009 $275 vs. import parity $300 (91%)

Crop size estimated by Millers – 600 000mt? Harvest pressure due to cash flow and not volume. 



Soyabeans: $345 del Hre, $325 collected on farm 14 – 21 days payment.

Comparison: $300 in 2009. Exports of soyameal in 2009 reduces stocks hence the increase this year.



Wheat: No local wheat available. Import parity $415 and will import up until November & probably through the harvest period.



From the Magazine Crop Prospects and Food Situation by the FAO.


FAO’s first forecast for world cereal production in 2010 is 2 286 million tonnes, 1.5% up from last year and similar to the record level of 2008. However, with some major crops yet to be planted, much will depend on climatic conditions in the coming months. International cereal prices have declined in the past months and are below their levels of a year ago reflecting ample cereal supplies in 2009/10 and prospects for large crops in 2010.


In developing countries, however food prices remain above the pre crisis level of early 2008, negatively affecting access to food of vulnerable populations.


What we hear is that should the world stop growing maize this coming season there is enough surplus stock to feed the world for 3 years. Wheat for 2 years. Does not say much for any increase in cereal prices!!!!!! Sorry for the doom and gloom on cereals especially since we have one of the highest input cost regionally.  




National Association of Dairy Farmers, Zimbabwe Crop Producers’ Association and Cattle Producers’ Association had an excellent turn out at Troutbeck, Nyanga for the Commodities Forum 2010.  It was very informative with excellent speakers lecturing on a wide variety of topics.  Thank you to our wonderful speakers.  A big thank you must also go to our wonderful sponsors who have been so loyal with their support:

Barco Chemicals, Big Five Wines, CC Sales, Cheeseman, Chemplex, Coopers, Dairibord, DairyMac, Fivet, Gouda Gold, Graniteside Chemicals, Ice Feeds, Intergrain, Jupiter Insurance, Kefalos, Kingdom Bank, National Tested Seed, Nestle, NorthMec/Case Agriculture, Omnia, Pioneer, Radium Africa, Roy Ormarod/Croplink, Schweppes, Seed Co, Tetrad, Windmill


PRIZES DONATED                                                          SPORT SPONSORS

Arundel Spar – $60 Shopping Voucher                              National Foods – Fishing Competition and Prizes

Colin Cloete – 3 x Chicken Vouchers                                 Nutrichem/Staywell – Tennis Competition and Prizes

Crystal Candy – Conference Mints                                    Omnia – Caps for Bowls Competition

Simon Dawson – 1 Case of Whisky

Peter Drummond – 3 x Chicken Vouchers

Hamish Cameron – 2 x 15kg Bags of Dairy Premix

Tarrys – 4 Sets of Tools

ZFC – 3 x Vouchers for half tonne Compound ‘D’ Fertilizer


We appeal to you to please support the companies listed above – they are our loyal sponsors


In addition to gaining valuable knowledge, everyone had much fun and laughter and the conference was enjoyed by all who attended.  Thank you also to you, our farmers and members who supported us and attended the AGM Meeting.


We were able to hold a Mashonaland ‘A’ AGM Meeting as there were enough Mashonaland ‘A’ farmers in attendance for form a quorum and we will be updating on this meeting shortly.


The new office bearers for NADF for 2010/2011 are as follows:






























VERY URGENT : We have 397 bottles (7 940 doses) of Brucella S19 that is due to expire in August 2010 and appeal to producers to make every effort to apply for, collect and vaccinate as soon as possible to prevent having to destroy the vaccine.


Vaccines are being distributed very quickly and we are ready to make a replenishment order from OBP in Pretoria but await the next tranche of funds to come through from the European Commission.












































































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