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.***

Don’t blame it on the weather: CFU

Don’t blame it on the weather: CFU

The Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union has blamed the country’s ill-advised 
policies for the acute food shortages that have reduced Zimbabwe to a basket 
case, with about 1,6 million rural people being reported to be in need of 
food aid this season.

by Edgar Gweshe

The President of the CFU, Charles Taffs, told The Zimbabwean that the lack 
of clear cut policies on agriculture and the chaotic acquisition of 
properties over the past 12 years had led to a reduction in agricultural 
productivity thereby contributing significantly to the nation’s food 

He dismissed as “absolute nonsense” claims that drought was the major 
contributing factor to the acute food shortages Zimbabwe is facing, saying 
it was an attempt by those behind the destruction of the agricultural sector 
to cover up for their destructive policies.

He also said government’s failure to distribute inputs in time to resettled 
farmers had resulted in the country failing to produce enough food for the 
people. The lack of farming expertise among resettled farmers, he said, had 
worsened the situation.

“There is no drought here. It’s bad planning. The country does not have an 
agricultural policy. These are the real issues and it really infuriates me 
when they say there is a drought.

‘‘For the last 12 years, we haven’t been feeding ourselves and the problem 
is that we are growing maize where it is not suitable to do so -70 percent 
of the crop is not being grown where it should be grown and what’s the point 
of distributing inputs in December? We need to stop making excuses now and 
stop blaming others for the problems the county is facing,” said Taffs.

A recent Zimbabwe Vulnerability and Assessment report (ZimVAC) reveals that 
an estimated 1,6 million people in rural areas are likely to need food 
assistance this season and the number is 60 percent higher than the one 
million recorded last season. The report also reveals that this year’s 
cereal harvest was just over a million metric tons, a third lower than that 
of last year and the lowest since 2009.

Taffs said efforts to revive the country’s agricultural industry were being 
derailed by “political issues which are always at the forefront”. This, he 
said, had led to a huge decline in agricultural productivity, with that 
adversely affecting other sectors of the economy.

“Agriculture is not to be viewed in isolation. It is tied to banking, rural 
councils, schools and manufacturing industries. The problem now is that 
agriculture is not working. If we sort agriculture, we sort everything else. 
To have a UN food agency based in Harare is an insult,” he said.

Taffs also took a swipe at the country’s draft constitution which he said is 
“incredibly unsatisfactory” and smacks of an attempt by some powerful 
figures to sweep compensation claims by former white commercial farmers 
under the carpet.

The draft constitution enshrines the right of the state to acquire land and 
also states that the takeovers will be done without compensation. The draft 
constitution also guarantees invaders’ rights to the properties they seize 
and insists Britain is responsible for compensation of land seized during 
the Land Reform Programme.

“What is concerning is that the constitution is full of contradictions. For 
example, in the Bill of Rights, it is clear that no one shall be prejudiced 
of land but it is clear that white farmers are being prejudiced.

‘‘The Zimbabwean government in the draft constitution has said they are not 
going to honour international court rulings on land. Ignoring international 
court rulings on land will isolate the country further and this is something 
we cannot afford to do,” said Taffs, adding that the drafters had missed an 
opportunity to resolve the land question once and for all and the stance 
taken on land will continue to hold back agricultural productivity. 


New Posts: