Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Farm invasions worsen plight of displaced: WFP

Farm invasions worsen plight of displaced: WFP

by Own Correspondent Tuesday 27 April 2010

HARARE – Ongoing farm seizures in Zimbabwe pose one of the greatest threats to the hopes of a better life by the thousands of people displaced by the country’s political crisis, according to the World Food Programme.

The UN agency said most of Zimbabwe’s internally displaced persons (IDPs) faced an uncertain future due to the disturbances prohibiting stability in the key agricultural sector.

WFP said an unknown number of IDPs was being deprived of basic shelter and livelihood opportunities due to the ongoing farm invasions.

“The scale of the invasions and subsequent protection needs is yet to be ascertained through an assessment,” said the WFP.

The United Nations Development Programme estimated that there were between 570 000 and one million IDPs at the height of Zimbabwe’s political crisis in 2008.

A significant number of the IDPs are former farm workers while others are families displaced by a 2005 slum destruction programme and by political violence two years ago.

The number may have increased from the UNDP estimate since the formation of the country’s coalition government last year when hordes of President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU PF supporters, so-called war veterans and members of the army and police stepped up farm invasions.

Commercial farmers’ organisations say invaders have since raided at least 150 of the about 300 remaining white-owned commercial farms, a development that has intensified doubts over whether the unity government will withstand attempts by ZANU PF hardliners to sabotage it.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has ordered the arrest and prosecution of the farm invaders but his word is largely ignored with farmers reporting continuing invasions of their properties and disruption of farming

The International Monetary Fund and Western countries have – on top of other conditions – made it clear that they would not consider giving aid to the Harare government while farm invasion continue.

Zimbabwe has since 2000, when land reforms began, relied on food imports and handouts from international food agencies mainly due to failure by resettled black peasants to maintain production on former white farms. – ZimOnline


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