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.***

Mugabe hails farm recovery

Mugabe hails farm recovery

by Own Correspondent     Monday 29 August 2011

HARARE – President Robert Mugabe at the weekend said Zimbabwe’s agriculture 
sector was on the rebound after a decade of decline blamed on the veteran 
leader’s chaotic and often violent seizure of white-owned farmland for 
redistribution to blacks.

Addressing the Harare agricultural show that ended Saturday Mugabe said 
rising output of tobacco and cotton – two of Zimbabwe’s main farm exports – 
was driving recovery in the agricultural sector that was the engine of the 
economy before farm seizures began in 2000.

“Agriculture has been on the rebound over the last two years,” Mugabe said. 
“The major drivers of agricultural growth have been mainly tobacco and 

Mugabe said the country was this year looking to earn US$359 million from 
the sale of 131 million kilogrammes of tobacco, up six percent from the 123 
million kilogrammes sold in 2010.

The country will also earn the $240 million from cotton sales, up from $107 
million sold last year, while maize, groundnuts, soya bean and sugar cane 
output was also rising, according to Mugabe.

However Zimbabwe will still need food assistance from international donors 
because although food production is on the rise it is still short of 

Once a breadbasket of the region during the first two decades of 
independence, Zimbabwe has for the last 10 years relied on food handouts 
from aid agencies after production plummeted when Mugabe’s supporters 
forcibly took commercial farms from white farmers.

The plunge in production coincided with the collapse of the economy, which 
was marked by hyperinflation and acute shortages of foreign currency and 
high unemployment.

Commercial farming was once a preserve of white farmers, but in the last 
decade the sector has embraced a new crop of black farmers who have 
struggled to maintain previous production levels due to widespread shortages 
of farming inputs like seed and fertiliser.

Mugabe and his ZANU (PF) party are quick to remind everyone that rising farm 
production is evidence that the much-criticised land reforms are finally 
paying dividends and black farmers are now filling the gap left by the white 
commercial farmers.

The reforms have earned the country a bad reputation for not upholding the 
sanctity of property rights but ZANU-PF is unmoved by the criticism.

But analysts credit the recovery in agriculture and the economy in general 
to the 2009 formation of a coalition government between Mugabe and Prime 
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Although the unity government has been rocky, which is blamed on ZANU (PF) 
intransigence, it has managed to stabilise the economy while its 
introduction of multiple foreign currencies in place of the worthless 
Zimbabwe dollar helped reinvigorate farmers and encourage them to return to 
their fields in anticipation of real earnings. — ZimOnline


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