Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Midlands Report

              MIDLANDS

­              REPORT TO CONGRESS 2009

 Ladies and Gentleman, The past year has again been difficult and frustrating for farmers. The upsurge in farm invasions coupled with the prosecution of farmers through the courts, has had a detrimental effect on farmers moral. In short farmers are getting tired. All our farmers want is to be left alone to carry on with the job they know best, that is to farm. The formation of an all inclusive Government gave us some hope, but this has been destroyed by the above problems.It appears that there are a number of blank offer letters in the lands department and connected people are going around until they find a nice house or property they want and then the offer letter is filled in. The legality of the offer letters are very dubious. The magistrates handling of cases have convinced farmers that there is no law and order when it comes to land issues. The eviction of Tommy Venter by the courts was we feel completely unlawful and the hearing of George Hunderrmark has resemblance of a kangaroo court. The serving of an offer letter with a notice to vacate within 90 days on one of our top dairy farmers also indicates that things are not right. Weather: The past rainy season turned out to be one of the best for a long time, with rain starting in November and ending in April without any lengthy dry spells in between. It was a good dry land cropping season. All the rivers are still running and most dams are still full. Grass growth was good and grazing is plentiful. Winter started in June with heavy ground frost for a couple of weeks and temperatures have been low ever since.  Crop Production: Commercial maize has been grown mainly for stockfeed and yields have been good. Very little maize has been grown for sale to G.M.B. Maize theft was rife and so bad that farmers are looking to other crops to grow.Soya beans were grown on a limited scale. Paprika very little was grown and farmers are moving away from growing this crop. The ability to obtain fertilizer from CFU has been a great help to farmers. Dairy: This is still the largest industry in the Midlands, due to the cost and lack of food during the last 6 months of 2008. This has left many herds unviable.  Stability in the farming areas is needed to convince farmers to build their herds again. Beef: Cattle in fair condition and prices on auction are +/- $1 US per kg. Cattle herds are still suffering from lack of management due to a number of reasons: – lack of secure grazing due to lack of fencing and handling facilities. Handling facilities have been destroyed and dismantled by plot holders. Cattle are grazed all over the regions with corresponding problems. There are very few viable herds left and most producers have become keepers of cattle hoping for something to happen in the future and they can start again. Stock theft is rife. No pen feeding in numbers is being done. Poultry: Procurement of food has improved with importation of food ingredience from South Africa. Demand has outstripped supply, increased production is needed but producers are reluctant to expand due to the units becoming attractive to take over by connected people. Horticulture: Production costs have increased with the currency now in US$. We are not as competitive with the outside world. Production is still being maintained. Environment: Uncontrolled cutting of fire wood is rife due to Zesa power cuts and plot holders are using fire wood sales as a source of income. Stream bank cultivation is on the increase. Soil conservation is a thing of the past.Fires this year is going to be a problem with the amount of unprotected grass around. Fires will not be controlled. Security: The murder of Bob Vaughan-Evans and less than 2 weeks later of Ray Van Rensberg has been a shock to the whole Region. Our condolences go out to the families of those two gentlemen. To Jean we wish you a speedy recovery. I believe all of us must take notice of what has happened. Elderly people are soft targets to criminals who have no regard for life to get money. We must all improve on security as I believe this will be on going. In conclusion I would like to thank the people who have worked so hard to keep our Industry going with the hope of better times. To Shaku who has staffed our office so efficiently. Thank you. To our Head Office, Trevor Gifford, Deon Theron and Hendrik Olivier, for all your help and advice, your commitment and unstinting work to agriculture has been fantastic. We can never thank you enough. Thank you.  G Franceys(Midlands Chairman)17 July 2009 

 

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