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.***

Farm invasions bring insecurity to agric sector

Farm invasions bring insecurity to agric sector

Cathy Buckle

Daily News 14 September 2011

AREN’T we all so sick and tired of farm invasions? How much longer is this insanity going to go on?

There are so many things that are urgently in need of attention in order to return Zimbabwe to its previously stable and prosperous status. 

Amongst the most critical are food security, employment and investment.

The three are inextricably linked to each other and in turn to the farm invasions that simply go on and on from one year to the next. 

Two and a half years into our government of national unity, no one has got to grips with the problem and frankly, no one seems to have really even tried.

Another new wave of farm invasions is underway, bringing renewed insecurity into an already fragile agricultural sector. A farmer was murdered in Mvurwi and his wife badly beaten a fortnight ago. 

Operational and productive farms have recently been invaded in Penhalonga, Headlands, Centenary, Shangani and areas in the Midlands. The head of the CFU last week appealed to the government for protection for the remaining 10 percent  of commercial farmers who have survived land invasions thus far and are still on their properties trying to grow food for the country.  

CFU President Taffs said: “Our farmers are being subjected to constant threats, intimidation, extortion, theft, eviction, violence and murder, and no one is protecting us, not the police, not the courts, not even our government.’

His words, like those of his predecessors over the last eleven years, have fallen on deaf ears. As has been the case since February 2000, farm invasions continue to be the prime summer-time occupation of Zanu PF.

As winter comes to an end and the rains approach, arbitrary men turn up at farm gates, evict lawful owners and their workers and take over people’s homes and businesses. 

They know that the police will do nothing to stop them because, they say, this is “political” and that politicians will do nothing because they are too busy trying to stay in power. 

When you add an election to the mayhem, even one that may be a year or more away, the situation spirals out of control and land invasion becomes a national past time.

With each new invasion and eviction, the Zanu PF President and his deputies are silent, the MDC Prime Minister and his deputies say and do nothing and MP’s from both Zanu PF and the MDC turn a blind eye to what can only be described as economic sabotage.

Each new farm invasion leaves the country in a more precarious position. Men, women and children lose their jobs and homes. They become part of the wandering, restless mass of people in the country who don’t know where to go or what to do. 

They have skills and experience but cannot put them to good use because of their skin colour or political persuasion.

Each new farm invasion means that less locally produced food is available in supermarkets and butcheries and the gaps have to be filled with imports. 

The new duty on imported foodstuffs then affects us all, increasing the cost of living and leaving us with less money in our pockets. 

Food security is still very far from being a reality in the country. Just a month ago the World Food Programme reported that food security was an “urgent issue” in six out of 10 provinces in the country.

The Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee reported the shocking statistic that the rate for chronic and acute childhood malnutrition still stands at 35 percent in the country.

Zimbabwe wants food, jobs and investment, not this continual land grabbing. When will it end?


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