Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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CFU Calling (16 Oct 2009)

cfu calling


 CFU Calling


16 OCTOBER 2009




All across Zimbabwe and in most sectors people must be asking themselves, when is enough, enough? How much longer can we carry on like this?”


We are now in the eighth month since the formation of the Inclusive Government, and yesterday was the anniversary of the signing of the Global Political Agreement. It is also 19 months ago that the electorate of Zimbabwe indicated they had had enough and voted for a change.


As we enter the new season the expected change has far from materialised and in fact the current general conditions in the country are completely to the contrary. The sharing of power does not appear to be happening at all and the old regime continues to keep absolute power.


There are many examples of this abuse of power which are causing instability in our sector, one being the manner in which the Deputy Minister of Agriculture designee’s case is being handled. We believe this to be a direct assault on the spirit of the GPA which may seriously undermine efforts to make this fragile agreement work.


Although farmers appear to be in a one-sided and hopeless situation and lacking any kind of apparent support from the Inclusive Government we have not given up and never will.


Whilst some may say it is time for us all to pack up and call it a day there are others out there who are still operating, albeit in a much-reduced manner.


Yesterday afternoon we held a meeting with the Diplomatic Community at the union during which President Deon Theron gave an in-depth briefing of the current adverse situation facing our community, as well as possible solutions. The briefing was well attended and great interest and concern was expressed during question time.


It was amazing to note that, whereas in Zimbabwe our community is under serious threat from its own Government, our expertise is in high demand in the rest of Africa. One of the diplomats present expressed the immediate need for at least 400 of our farmers to develop agriculture in his country and wanted to set up a meeting as soon as possible to arrange this.


However, perhaps one needs to be more realistic about possibilities of long term investment in agriculture in Africa following our own experiences in our own country. It is for this reason that the current situation needs to be resolved properly and not allowed to perpetuate the problem like a growing cancer spreading throughout the continent of Africa. Unless this disease is properly treated and stamped out in Zimbabwe no future investments in agricultural anywhere in Africa will be absolutely safe.


Well attended meetings continued to be held around the country this week to discuss our proposal on compensation/restitution. It has been reported that the meetings have created huge interest in the proposal and those driving the initiative say they have found the questions which have been asked after the meetings very stimulating.


Of course there are also many rumours which have been floating around the country (and world), which need to be dealt with. They generally state that the compensation money is immediately available so we are having people telephone in giving us banking instructions for their cheques.


Unfortunately this is very far from reality as we have not even got to the stage of presenting the document to either the second or third essential partners in the deal as we first need the buy-in from our sector as we are a democratic organisation which cannot just act unilaterally.


There will be no money made available until there is total agreement between all three partners as well as some legislative changes being made – and then a solid commitment from Government, which most certainly will not happen this year. There is a lot of work to be done and we are just at the beginning stages.


Every now and again we do hit a few little speed bumps in the road which we have to slow down and negotiate over very carefully. Although there has been some loose talk and disagreement outside the formal meetings we can say that there is nearly a 100% buy-in from our sector so far.


One thing for sure is the increase in numbers of interested farmers who were not at the meetings, popping into our offices to get a rundown on the proposal. It is also amazing just how many people, who have made enquiries about their registration with the Valuation Consortium, are not on their list.


It is essential that every single property in Zimbabwe is registered with the Valuation Consortium – whether you are off or still on the farm. The cost of the registration and valuation is being covered so we encourage everyone to just get to Redfern Mullett in Eastlea and to register as soon as possible.


The Compensation Coalition also met this week. Below is a report from Marc Carrie-Wilson:


The Compensation Coalition Meeting


On Thursday the 15th of October 2009 a meeting of the Compensation Coalition (a group consisting of representatives from various organisations involved in lobbying for and facilitating the payment of compensation to dispossessed Commercial Farmers) was held. The CFU was represented at the meeting by Vice President Charles Taffs and Legal Affairs Manager Marc Carrie-Wilson.


The presentation of a draft proposal intending to provide a solution to the Compensation Restitution problem was made to the meeting and question, comment, criticism and input in general was invited form those present. The proposal is in its early stages and to date 8 meetings have been held with commercial farms around the country where a presentation has been made and discussion regarding the proposal encouraged. The aim of consulting farmers is to canvass for input so that the proposal can allow for the creation of a farmer driven solution. When farmer consultations have been concluded it is intended to draft the proposal.  As a critical stakeholder, the donor community will obviously also be invited and encouraged to give input. It was made clear to the meeting that given the impasse with in Government relating to the outstanding issues in the Global Political Agreement Government could not be formally engaged regarding this issue at this time. However, the consensus of opinion is that a well planned solution


Mr Graham Mullett representing the Valuation Consortium briefed the meeting on recent developments. Of particular interest is that to date approximately 3,350 separate Title deeds have been included on the Valcon database. Questions relating to the different values calculated by the Valuation Consortium and a South African firm of valuators, Mills and Fitchet was posed and it was made quite clear that farmer’s have the freedom of choice to contract with whomsoever they choose to value their properties.


Other points were raised regarding farms which were owned by Companies which have been allowed to lapse. The consensus of opinion was that in order to avoid any potential prejudice, farmers should be encouraged to ensure the Company complies with all legal requirements.


Talking of other rumours, we heard that a farmer in Beatrice had been put in jail for 5 months. The fact of the matter is that he was prosecuted under the Gazetted Land (Consequential Provisions) Act and given a 5 months sentence suspended for 5 years on condition he vacated his farm in 30 days. He has since vacated his property and appealed the judgment and sentence.


Vice President Louis Fick gives the below report on his recent trip to Namibia:


Namibia Agricultural Union 63nd annual congress


Theme: A prosperous rural economy for peace and stability


I have been privileged to attend the Namibia Agricultural Union congress held 7 & 8 October 09.


Attending a congress with the theme “A prosperous rural economy for peace and stability” speaks for itself.  From this theme came positive ideas and contributions from farmers and their communities.   This reminded me of the positive roll that farmers can play in normal environments.


The farmer in Namibia has also been affected by the world recession and a lot of time was spent on the world recession and the way forward. The conclusion of this was a slow bumpy recovery with Africa to lag behind.


Farm security has become an issue with an increasing number of farm attacks – leading to a number of farmers being murdered. The congress spent a lot of time on this issue with a senior ranking police officer addressing farmers.  Farmers are joining the local police reserve and roadblocks are jointly performed by police and farmers. (Sounds a bit like Zim a couple of years ago.)


The NAU congress asked me to convey their best wishes and support to the farmers in Zimbabwe.


We have still been unable to source any information on weather projections for Zimbabwe with regard to the El Nino affecting the Northern Hemisphere. Projections from the Zimbabwe Meteorological Department on the Internet are still displaying a satellite image from 6 months ago. We will keep trying.


The reprint of C G Tracey’s book “All for Nothing” has been completed and as soon as we have more copies for sale we will let you all know. We believe that the price has been slightly adjusted upwards.


Our doors are always open to either take advice or to understand your problems.


LABOUR REPORT (from the desk of Tongai Marodza)


Arbitral award for the Horticulture Sector








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Arbitral award for the Agro Sector



































An employer can apply to the National Employment Council for an exemption or partial exemption from paying


wages as set out in the above schedules, stating the reasons why application should be considered.














































Last week the STABEX 95 team were busy vaccinating at Marirangwe.   This week, Rob Van Vuuren, Sue Bell, Linda Nielsen and Farai Tinarwo are vaccinating at Umzingwane.   We will have more to report next week on the success of these two vaccination exercises. 


Vaccine orders for commercial livestock producers are still being received and processed and we will keep you informed of the progress.   We have been informed by a reliable source that there is currently a shortage in the supply of day old chicks and it has therefore been decided to put on hold the ordering of the two poultry vaccines until early 2010.


At the moment the entire country is extremely dry, hot and windy.  Caution is needed for runaway felt fires but rain is expected soon if our weather forecasters are on target. 


Dairy Mails are expected shortly and these will be distributed in the usual way.   The Chairman and Vice Chairman in Bulawayo will arrange distribution of all NADF mail to our producers in the Matabeleland region.






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


I have been to a few farmers meetings in the last week and met some farmers and taken a look at a few farms. Land preparation seems to be on track however,  what is abundantly clear is that whilst the farmer is willing, finance for inputs is not there and what finance is available, an interest rate of 19% makes this a non-starter.


So, whilst we would like to grow more grain crops to feed this nation, not only do farmers have to contend with the daily troubles thrown their way, we do not have a banking institution that can cater for their needs. Roll on those imports that our country cannot afford, let alone transport in.  A sad situation that could so easily be resolved!


Concerning the membership of the CFU – In my travels meeting farmers a common complaint is that information is not getting to them, especially regarding the Stabex fertilizer. Please check that you are a paid-up member, and give us your new e mail addresses if it has changed. CFU is working at trying to get info to the farmers. 


Looking forward to seeing those that I have met previously and meeting those I have not, in the coming weeks.


Trading Prices


Local as at 16 October 2009 (US$)


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South African Foreign Exchange (SAFEX) as at 16 October 2009


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International Gulf


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Source: South African Grain Information Service (SAGIS)




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