Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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CFU submits proposal to restore agric viability

CFU submits proposal to restore agric viability

Friday, 15 July 2011 16:29

Staff Reporter

THE embattled Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) has submitted proposals to government aimed at restoring viability in the country’s struggling 
agricultural sector.  The move signals efforts by the CFU, which represents 
dispossessed white commercial farmers, to reach out to government, whose 
agrarian reforms triggered an economic crisis that plunged the country from 
being a regional bread basket into a basket case.

In its submissions to the two Vice-Presidents John Nkomo and Joice Mujuru 
through their respective State Ministers as well as to several government 
ministers, the CFU said revival of the country’s agricultural sector should 
focus on restructuring the current set-up to ensure that new farmers are 
empowered, while outstanding disputes are settled by compensating the 
disposed former white commercial farmers.

The proposal was also sent to the Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and 
Irrigation Devel-opment, Joseph Made through his permanent secretary, Ngoni Masoka.

CFU vice-president, Charles Taffs, said the union was looking forward to a 
positive response from the State players.

“We sent the proposal to the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee 
on Thursday (and) also to the two Vice-President’s offices through the 
Minister of State in the office of Vice-President Joice Mujuru, Sylvester 
Nguni and to Flora Buka, the Minister of State in the office of 
Vice-President John Nkomo,” he said.

“The pragmatic thing is for government to recl-aim the value of land; there 
is need to unlock its importance towards the country’s economy,” Taffs 

CFU comprises of former white commercial farmers whose land was expropriated by government under the land reform programme over a decade ago for the resettlement of black farmers government says were disposed by the settler colonial regime.

The few white farmers remaining have continued to face persecution and 
forced eviction despite government’s reassurance that land acquisition has 
been completed.

Farm disruptions and evictions continue and most farmers have lost household goods, machinery and years of hard work on the farms without being compensated.

According to the proposal, the solution to reviving agriculture would 
include a new land tenure system that would allow land to be tradable on the 
open market.

New farmers would purchase land rights by paying government over time for 
the land allocated to them under the land reforms and previous farmers would 
rece-ive compensation throu-gh a payment plan.

“This will enable all farmers to fully invest and produce with confidence. 
One of the key principles behind financing agriculture in this way is to 
avoid burdening the nation’s tax payers for the benefit of those selectively 
empowered by access to a finite national resource, ” the agricultural 
proposal explained.

A key feature of the proposal is the establishment of the Agricultural 
Recovery Bank for the provision of short, medium and long-term      finance.

Each of these loan types would be underwritten by the inherent value of the 
agricultural businesses and the land on which a farmer operates.

The recognition of the core value of business infrastructure and land as the 
basis on which secure lending can be facilitated would the first step, the 
CFU suggested.

Management, monitoring and evaluation of the bank’s performance would 
require independent and accountable governance to protect the bank’s 
investors and ensure that the bank remained competitive to attract 
substantial private sector international investment.

As part of the proposal, a land commission would have to be app-ointed by 
government to monitor and implement policy on the land issue as well as the 
appointment of an agricultural asset audit to allow for a complete 
understanding of the ownership, occupation and value of all land in the 

“This proposal does not seek to   dictate the way forward for the 
agricultural sector, rather, it should be seen as a contribution that 
attempts    to take a candid look at how a new dispensation might become 
fully empowered, and at the same time, engage the considerable value that 
can be leveraged through an integrated approach to the problem of 
compensation,” Taffs said.


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