Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Minister denies barring UN groups from food assessments

ZANU PF minister denies barring UN groups from food assessments

By Alex Bell

18 March 2011

ZANU PF’s Agriculture Minister, Joseph Made, has denied barring 
international aid agencies and other NGOs from participating in food 
assessment surveys in Zimbabwe, claming he was “misquoted.”

The IRIN humanitarian news service quoted Made this week as telling them 
that United Nations (UN) groups in particular, “are not welcome” in 
Zimbabwe. He called the food and crop assessments “a national security 
matter that should be treated with the utmost caution and exclusivity.”

“Hence our decision as government to exclude outsiders from the surveys. UN 
agencies in particular are not welcome because they send out negative 
information about the country. We don’t want to have politics in food 
issues,” Made is quoted as saying.

The news has prompted allegations that ZANU PF is deliberately hiding the 
truth of Zimbabwe’s food situation, in order to once again use food as a 
political weapon during the forthcoming elections. The Commercial Farmers 
Union (CFU) told SW Radio Africa on Thursday that they believe the decision 
to exclude the UN and other groups is all related to ZANU PF’s political 
strategy and election campaign. The party has traditionally used food to 
either garner support or punish the opposition, by controlling food 

Economic analyst John Robertson meanwhile is also quoted by IRIN as saying 
that the exclusion of the international groups was to hide the truth that 
Robert Mugabe’s land reform scheme has been a disaster for the country. ZANU 
PF insists that Western targeted sanctions are to blame for all of the 
country’s problems, including the devastation of the once prosperous 
agricultural sector.

Robertson told IRIN that excluding the UN groups from food assessments is an 
attempt “to cast Mugabe’s fast-track land-reform programme in a positive 

“President Mugabe’s side of the government, to which agriculture minister 
Made belongs, wants to make the statement that land reform in Zimbabwe is 
succeeding. In this case, they are likely to inflate figures of yields and 
also seek to blame only the weather for poor yields,” Robertson said.

It is no surprise that Made has now backtracked on what he told the IRIN, 
saying the group ‘misquoted’ him. He told Voice of America news that he 
“would work with UN agencies and non-governmental organizations as long as 
they stay out of Zimbabwean politics.”


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