Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Grace Mugabe and her dairy farm

Grace Mugabe and her dairy farm

by Gerry Jackson
05 July 2012

Grace Mugabe has increased the type of dairy products her farm produces and 
is now selling sour milk at the OK bazaars. The Mugabe milk brands are 
called Alpha Omega and will soon include powdered milk and ice cream.

Helping to guarantee the success of Grace’s products has been the almost 
total destruction of the dairy industry in Zimbabwe by her husband, Robert. 
It took just five years after the first land invasion in 2000 to reduce the 
dairy herd by 80%. Dairy cows were routinely slaughtered for meat or maimed 
in random acts of cruelty. Viable dairy farms had their milking equipment 
destroyed and the farmers violently displaced.

Grace’s milk products will be a direct challenge to Nestle who produce many 
of the same milk products and who, under pressure from rights activists, 
stopped buying milk from Grace Mugabe’s farm in 2009.

The First Lady’s Gushungo Dairy Estate used to be called Foyle Farm. The 
previous owner faced a campaign of violence over many months in 2003 and was 
forced to sell his property to the Agricultural Rural Development Authority. 
ARDA estimated the price of the property at a quarter of independent 
estimates and paid the owner just 40% of that amount. As soon as the owner 
vacated the property Grace Mugabe began to pop in for visits.
Although she has put massive investment into the dairy farm for a number of 
years it’s estimated that the output is less than 35% under the previous 
owner – who produced more than any other dairy in Zimbabwe.

The UK’s Sunday Telegraph newspaper investigated the pay and conditions at 
Gushungo Dairy and said an average worker would be unable to afford the milk 
produced. One worker said: “Do we ever get enough money? No, I get $40 (£25) 
a month, yet we sell lots and lots of milk.”

“We do get cabbages returned from the market and 25kg of maize meal twice a 
month, but there is no electricity in our houses, only for office staff and 
managers. Mrs Mugabe is here a lot, but doesn’t talk to us, just the 

Mrs Mugabe told the state Herald newspaper that she had gone into dairy 
farming because her husband, Robert Mugabe, wanted it. She said: “I did it 
especially for him.”

But it appears that the farm has been useful for other ventures. Rumours 
abound that Grace had a 5 year affair with Reserve Bank Governor Gideon 
Gono, and that they met at least 3 times a month at the dairy farm. 


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