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 26 February 2010

cfu_calling

26 February 2010  

 

EXECUTIVE NEWS

 

The news this week consists of a variety of events which will be covered. Thankfully though the highs are more than the lows in the continued roller coaster ride we travel along in an effort to attain the recognition of our farmers and their possible productivity being a valuable asset to the development to this country. Part of this is of course the vital payment of compensation and recognition of property rights in order the remove the conflict over the emotive land issue, which continues be abused under the patronage system.

 

In order to farm properly we need to invest huge amounts of capital in production costs and permanent development and of course most of that money would have to come from the banks who in turn need to feel very comfortable to lend their depositors’ finances in the long term. Whilst the recent signing of the South African BIPPA was encouragement to investors in this country unfortunately the recent publication of the Indigenisation Regulations has had exactly the opposite effect.

 

Although we do still see a small portion of our sector still able to continue to farm on small portions of their properties this is not sustainable as they are unable to maintain good normal farming practices which protect the fertility of the soils as well as protecting the natural resources.

 

At least this week we have heard that parts of the country, which were previously dry have now received some decent rain which will go a long way to alleviating the grazing problems. However, the lack of substantial runoff is still a great cause of concern with regard the filling of dams, especially as Government has just announced an ambitious winter maize plan to plant 2 000ha in the Lowveld from which they wish to harvest an expected 30 000 tonnes, which just shows how out of touch with reality the reporting minister must be.

 

Unless the current water level of the major dams increases considerably, there will be no chance of achieving anything at all. With the dry conditions in the early part of the current rainy season considerable volumes of water continues to be released for the irrigation of sugar cane.

 

Only this week we heard of another case of a farmer who undertook a fleeting visit to his property from which he was forcefully evicted in 2002. The farm was previously highly developed for irrigated tobacco and winter cropping production as well as a Brahman stud herd. On his recent visit he noted that underground electric cable, which fed the centre pivot systems and was buried over 1.5 metres in the ground had been uplifted; all the overhead cables had also been lifted; the extensive cattle handling facilities built from railway line were cut off with an oxy-acetylene torch; boilers from the bulk curers were missing, copper radiators for the curers were missing; etc. In fact every piece of metal was taken from this once highly productive farm on which no agriculture is currently being practiced at all.

 

When he asked one of his ex-workers what had happened, he merely shrugged his shoulders and said that the soldiers and policemen who are the beneficiaries of the farm merely stripped the farm of all the assets and exported it all as scrap metal to South Africa.

 

Is this what the so-called land reform programme is all about? We also hear this week that there is currently a battle royal on another property where various beneficiaries and other plunderers are arguing over the ownership of the newly found minerals on the property – something which the registered owner of the property knew nothing about.

 

We hear only a few of such stories and we would once again request you to share with us your stories and photographs of exactly what is happening on your farm and in the courts in order for us to be in a strong position to put the records straight as well as have a constant global picture of exactly what is actually happening out there.

 

The saga at Chipinge continues and the latest development is that the high powered beneficiary has moved his entire herd of cattle from another of his allocated properties, situated in the Red Foot and Mouth area, and has mixed those nondescript and possibly diseased cattle in between the last remaining premier Brahman pedigree stud herds. This is pure economic sabotage which is all being done in utter disregard of many court orders, and Veterinary regulations. In fact another successful court order was obtained yesterday but we will not hold our breath expecting any positive action from the authorities concerned in implementing the new High Court order.

 

Our good relationship with Agriforum continues and in the light of this that we are extremely encouraged by even further success in the High Court in Pretoria in South Africa yesterday where there was absolutely no opposition or objection to the registration in South Africa of the successful judgment in the SADC Tribunal. Once received, the judgment will be published on our website www.cfuzim.org  

 

In the interim we publish an extract from the Heads of Argument the relevant part of the judgment:

 

(b)           The rulings by the South African Development Community (SADC) Tribunal delivered on 28 November 2008 and 5 June 2009 are declared to be registered, i.e. recognized and enforceable, in terms of article 32 of the Protocol on the SADC Tribunal by the High Court of South Africa, and the quantum of the costs pursuant to the latter ruling is declared to be as determined by the Registrar of the SADC Tribunal in his allocatur, namely US$ 5 816,47 and ZAR 112 780,13.

Our commentary and summary on this latest successful judgment has unfortunately been delayed but will be published as soon as it is received.

 

Whilst we most certainly will not just be sitting back on our haunches and enjoying the success in foreign courts we have been forced into this strategy because of our receiving little sympathy in our own courts. We do have a plan but which is unfortunately not for open discussion on these means. Feel free to come in and discuss them with us at any time.

 

We are also pleased to welcome back Meryl Harrison to the country who did so much assisting our stranded pets and livestock for several years at the beginning of the land invasions. She will not be going back to work with the ZNSPCA although she is still a registered/accredited inspector with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, whose ministry covers animal welfare issues. A new organisation has been formed by a group of concerned veterinarians, called Veterinarians for Animal Welfare in Zimbabwe (VAWZ) with the current interim Chairman being Dr Chris Foggin.

 

She has said that she will assist with any animal welfare problems arising on the farms but she says that the first port of call for farmers is still the ZNSPCA, with whose job she does not intend interfering with at all. Welcome home Meryl!

 

We still have copies of Meryl’s book, “Innocent Victims” for sale and the purchasers will now be able to get signed copies for their library collections.

 

ARAC -Agricultural Recovery and Compensation

 

 

At the recent AGM of FIT the organisation was renamed ARAC, (Agricultural Recovery and Compensation.) This has been done in recognition of the primary concerns that affect our displaced farmers. Ten years since the start of the current crisis there is a real need to re-engage our constituents in a process that will bring closure to this traumatic period and set in place the foundations for recovery. We believe that the re-branding of FIT provides a great opportunity for us to make the difference. For too long displaced farmers and others who have been forced out of the industry that was the primary source of their livelihood have been sidelined or felt alienated. This has been recognised and ARAC is the result of this.

 

 At the AGM the following were nominated to take this process forward, Messers: Jim Barker, Dave Bouma, Richard Brooker, Ian Gibson, Richard Harvey, Wynand Hart, Barry Munro, Chris Shepherd, Pete Steyl (Chairman)and Rod Swales. Vice President Charles Taffs is an ex-officio member of the ARAC Committee, which also has representation at the CFU Council.

 

Our mandate is broad and inclusive, two working groups have been established and an ARAC office at CFU is now staffed by Ben Purcell Gilpin and Shayne Wells. We will keep you informed of our activities.

We can be contacted at arac@cfuzim.org or fit@cfuzim.org  Telephone no: +263 4 309800 – 19 Ext: 249

 

We have received numerous enquiries with regard to the Indigenisation Act and Regulations which are due to come into force next week. This afternoon there is a meeting at the Union at which the matter will be discussed by experts and the below legal opinion presented:

 

INDIGENISATION REGULATIONS OPINION SUMMARY

 

Members are advised that our lawyers and senior counsel have furnished us with a general opinion in respect of the indigenisation regulations and enabling Act.

 

The key features we summarise and extract from the opinion are the following:

 

1.         The Regulations have been lawfully promulgated in terms of the Act and come into force on 1st March 2010. To make the promulgation lawful the Minister was required to consult the Board constituted in terms of the Act. Apparently a board has been constituted and providing consultation with the Board has taken place there can be no attack on the legality of the promulgation aspect. Accordingly, public statements recently in the media by government officials that the regulations are “null and void” does not render the regulations invalid. They still have the force of law

 

2.         There is no constitutional basis upon which to attack either the Act or Regulations.

 

3.         The Regulations apply to all businesses. Accordingly the common perception that they apply only to businesses of an asset value of US$ 500 000-00 is not correct.

 

4.         It is very important to read the Regulations in conjunction with Sections 3 and 4 of the Act, which set out the overall objectives of government in respect of indigenisation.

 

5.         Section 3 of the Act refers to 3 categories of business:

 

(i)            The first is in respect of Government’s objective of securing indigenisation of every public company and any other business;

(ii)           The second category concerns:

a)    “mergers” and “restructuring” of two or more related companies or the acquisition of a controlling interest in any business that requires to be notified in terms of the Competition Act [Chapter 14:28];

b)    the unbundling or demergers of a business;

c)     the relinquishment of a controlling interest in a business which interest is above a prescribed threshold;

d)    investments by local domestics or foreigners where an investment licence is required.

 

(iii)          The third category relates to businesses involved in procurements in terms of the Procurement Act [Chapter 22:14].

 

6.         In terms of Section 4 of the Act the transactions referred to in the second category can only take place if the Minister responsible for indigenisation and where applicable, other Ministers, approve of the transaction. If approval is not received in 45 days of notification of the proposed transaction it is deemed to be approved. If there is disapproval within 45 days the Minister may indicate within a further 90 days his further requirements before approving the transaction. This may involve the introduction of an alternative or additional party to the transaction.

 

7.         Most significantly in Senior Counsel’s opinion:

 

“It is to be noted that there is no provision in the enabling legislation to compel indigenisation, there are only negative provisions. In other words, in dealing with the second category of transactions, the Minister has the power to prevent the transaction going forward, but does not have power to compel in respect of either the first or the second group of transactions the attainment of the 51% shareholding by indigenous Zimbabweans. The attainment of that percentage remains an endeavour of the Government, without any statutory power to enforce it”.

 

8.         Two major obligations arise from section 4 of the regulations:

 

a)    Firstly within 45 days of the 1st March 2010 every business with an asset value of above US$ 500 000-00 must submit a FORM IDG01 duly completed to the Minister, whether or not at that date indigenous Zimbabweans hold 51% of the shares or controlling interest of the business. Any new business commencing after 1 March 2010 must comply with this obligation within 60 days of commencing business.

b)    Secondly every business without limitation as to its value of assets must submit a form IDG01 to the Minister if the business is one in which indigenous Zimbabweans do not hold 51% of the shares or a controlling interest. Any new business after 1st March must also comply with submitting IDG01 form within 45 days.

 

9.         If a particular business that, in the opinion of the Minister, should have submitted a form IDG01 but did not do so the Minister may serve on such business in the manner prescribed a form IDG01. If the form is not completed and filed within 30 days of the date of service then the owner of the business or any director of a company is liable to be convicted of a criminal offence.

 

10.        Section 5 of the regulations deals with how the Minister either approves or rejects proposed indigenisation implementation plans. At the appropriate time this section should be read as it is reasonably self-explanatory. It sets out the right of the Minister to call for information and the obligation of a business to file a revised plan within a prescribed period if the first or second plan submitted is rejected.

 

11.        But it is to be noted that where an indigenisation implementation plan is rejected the regulations do not impose any consequences upon the failure to implement a plan or have such a plan approved.

 

12.        Sections 6, 7, 8 and 9 of the regulations deal with the second category of transactions referred to above.

 

13.        Please note the Third Schedule to the Regulations prescribe the sectors of the economy reserved against foreign investment in favour of indigenous Zimbabweans.

 

These include Agriculture: primary production of food and cash crops, Tobacco processing, tobacco grading and packaging, grain milling and milk processing. Foreign investment can only take place with the approval of the Minister responsible for indigenisation as well as the Minister responsible for the Zimbabwe Investment Authority Act [Chapter 14:30].

 

14.        Senior Counsel has advised as follows:

 

            “In my view, all businesses should comply with the requirement to submit the Form IDG01, although there might be a tactical value in not making the submission until a form is specifically served upon the business in terms of section4 (4) of the regulations (i.e. when the Minister serves it on the business.)”

 

15.        The above is a general overview of the Regulations and Act. It is advisable to obtain specific advice from your lawyer and/or accountant in completing the IDG01 form.

 

16.        All the above mentioned regulations and acts are available on our website www.cfuzim.org 

 

Termination of Email Service

 

The following email was sent out to internet users in Agriculture House this week. In plain terms what this means is that as from the 31 March 2010 any CFU email addresses with @cfu.co.zw will no longer be operational. The new addresses @cfuzim.org will replace the former. Please therefore adjust your address books on your computers accordingly.

“Notice is hereby given that the internet service provided by ZOL to the Commercial Farmers’ Union and tenants currently connected to its local area network will be terminated on the 31st March, 2010.

Tenants on the network are accordingly advised to make their own arrangements regarding an internet service.

Kindly also note that the domain “@cfu.co.zw” and associated addresses will cease to operate on the 31st March, 2010. Network users should advise their correspondents accordingly.”

………………………………………………………

The following report on ZESA services has been sent to

Report on the Service and Tariffs of the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) as Experienced by members of the Commercial Farmers’ Union of Zimbabwe (CFU)

Since November 2009, the Commercial Farmers Union (“CFU”) has noted an increase in reports from its members of problems with regard to erratic electricity supply and exorbitant tariffs being charged by the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority ZESA. Electricity is a vital factor in agricultural production and the processing of agricultural produce; it is essential for most types of irrigation systems, dairy processing, coffee and tea production to name but a few. Problems surrounding erratic power supply have had, and continue to have a seriously negative impact, on any attempts of recovery in the agricultural sector. It is understood that cause of this erratic supply is chiefly load-shedding, but is in some cases also caused by localised faults. One example is of a large dairy and milk processing plant in the Beatrice area which was without power for over 7 days causing massive expenditure on generators to ensure continued operations.

 

Of equal concern is that ZESA tariffs now appear to be exorbitant, which again threatens the economic viability of many if not all agricultural businesses. It has been noted with alarm that in many cases ZESA tariffs are based on estimates of power consumption. These estimates are based on previous readings taken in some cases years before and they fail to factor in the now increasingly erratic power supply and therefore have no real bearing on actual power consumption.

 

There are also inconsistencies in the approach taken from area to area with some areas reporting more exorbitant charges than others. In this regard the Kadoma/Chegutu area has seen numerous reports of high bills. General misunderstandings and confusions as to how bills are calculated seem to be prevalent indicating a need for transparency and clarity form ZESA as to how bills are calculated etc. Disputes over bills will generally entail disconnection of power supply, which leaves consumers no option but to pay the sum as demanded in order to ensure a continuation of supply and argue about the fee as paid later.

 

The table below indicates 5 separate recently reported specific case studies indicating erratic tariffs and errors in tariff calculation. In all cases it appears as if estimates have been used in the calculation of the bills. In some of the cases resolution has been reached by negotiation with ZESA which have revealed errors in fee calculations.

 

graph1

Greater detail can be supplied if necessary

 

Recommendations to be Immediately adopted and Implemented

·         As a point of departure we recommend that ZESA make available, in the press, a chart indicating its tariffs clearly and simply. In this regard ZESA should engage bodies which represent business interests such as farmers Unions etc to disseminate information to their respective constituents.  Consumer education is vital. Understanding the challenges ZESA is facing and how fees are calculated will reduce consumer resistance and allow the private sector to be engaged as a partner in overcoming problems.

·         Consumers should be allowed to show their readings if they dispute bills and further if estimated bills are disputed there should not be a threat of disconnection until the dispute is resolved.

·         Electricity tariffs should be reasonable with regard for the country’s fragile and recovering economy.

·         There must be an emphasis on improved service delivery and customer care and accountability to the consumer.

COMMODITY UPDATE

 

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

 

19th February 2010

 

TO                    All Barley Growers

 

FROM:              General Manager

                        Delta Beverages

 

Dear Sir/Madam

 

RE:       MEETING BETWEEN DELTA AND ALL BARLEY GROWERS 

           

You are hereby invited to a meeting with Delta senior management to discuss the sustainability of the Zimbabwean barley industry.

 

Venue:  Kwekwe Maltings & Mandel Training Centre (Map attached)

 

Date:    3rd March 2010 & 4th March 2010 respectively

 

Time:    1030 hours

 

A finger lunch will be served.

 

Your presence at this meeting will be greatly appreciated.

 

Yours faithfully

For: DELTA BEVERAGES

 

G. SITHOLE

GENERAL MANAGER

 

directions

 As can be seen from the above, all farmers interested in growing Barley under contract to Delta are cordially invited to a growers meeting next week. The venue is right across the road from CFU so pay us a visit.

 

Please can all those farmers who have an interest in growing wheat this year, contact me with the hecterage that you would like to grow. We are starting negotiations with a company that is interested in contracting with farmers for input cost. E mail me your proposed hecterages, name and farm name, to rtaylor@cfuzim.org so that we have an idea as to hecterages etc. I will be organizing meetings between farmers and this company.

 

Rains have been fairly wide spread this last week. Not too many heavy storms, mostly gentle rain with most dams therefore, getting very little runoff and are low. The east of the country still remains very dry. Predictions are that we have a further week of this weather.

 

Local as at 26 February 2010 US$

graph2

South African Foreign Exchange (SAFEX) as at 26 February 2010

graph4

 

International Gulf

graph

 Source: South African Grain Information Service (SAGIS)

 

 

NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF DAIRY FARMERS (from the desk of Rob Van Vuuren)

 

NADF is held an Executive Committee Meeting on 24th February 2010.  This meeting went very well and I am sure that your Regional Chairmen will be reporting back to you shortly about what was discussed at this meeting.

 

Proposed dates for upcoming dairy forums are as follows :

Tuesday 16th March Mash A at 10am – Venue is to be confirmed

Wednesday 17th March – Mash B at 2pm at the Beatrice Club

Thursday 18th March – Matabeleland at 10am at the Members Pavilion at the Showgrounds

Friday 19th March Midlands at 10am at the Bob Vaughan Evans Memorial Hall Showgrounds

Monday 22nd March – Chipinge – Venue and time to be advised

Tuesday 23rd March – Mutare – Venue and time to be advised

 

 

MARKETING PROGRAMME

 

Sue Bell and Linda Nielsen made a day trip to Tsonzo Dairy to discuss the possibility of them adding a processing unit to process and package their product in order to add value and increase shelf life. At this point we would like to express our appreciation to both Gareth Barry (who meet with us to discuss this issue) and Mr Boswell Brown for the interest they take in this project and all their help. It seems as though processing would indeed be a viable option for Tsonzo and we are currently doing costings and getting quotations. If anyone has new or good second-hand processing machinery (small batch pasteurisers – 500 litre and below, sachet sealers (heat sealer) etc,) we would be interested in purchasing these items for this project. Please contact Sue Bell at nadfmarketing@cfuzim.org cell 0912 239 996.

 

We have also been busy purchasing tricycles (motorbike with trailers for milk collection) for four of the Milk Centres, purchase of cans, buckets and can basins, and the rehabilitation of all buildings etc.

 

The rest of February and March are going to be very busy months – with Administrator training on vermiculture, organic compost and pesticide making and Four Square Gardens; farmer training and HIV/AIDS workshops at all Centres; Centre employee training on clean milk production and processing and book-keeping training. So – if you don’t hear from Linda and Sue for a while – that is why !!

 

 

VACCINE PROGRAMME

 

Well over one million doses of vaccines have now been allocated and this welcome increase in distribution is largely the result of NADF being able to respond to several disease outbreaks, mainly anthrax.

 

Frontline Farming – Fivet in Bulawayo have now received their first delivery of vaccines and a second delivery is due next week.

 

We are investigating equipping the CFU Office in Gweru to become the Midlands distributor of vaccines.

 

Stocks of certain vaccines do run out from time to time and we ask you to please bear with us as new stocks are ordered as there is always a delay in the delivery.

 

 

CATTLE PRODUCERS ASSOCIATION

 

WEEKLY CATTLE PRICES

 graph5

 

 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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