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.***

No Seeds for Zimbabwean Farmers

No Seeds for Zimbabwean Farmers

November 04, 2011

Peta Thornycroft | Johannesburg

Zimbabwe’s summer rains have started but many peasant farmers have no seed 
to plant crops and many families, particularly in the south of the country, 
are desperately hungry because their crops failed last year.  The Solidarity 
Peace Trust produced a detailed report this week about rural poverty in 
southern Zimbabwe and said the situation was so bad that South Africa should 
stop deporting Zimbabweans as their families at home cannot feed them.
Solidarity Peace Trust, the South Africa-based rights group, has been 
monitoring hungry families in the dry, southern part of Zimbabwe where there 
is desperate poverty, especially in the Matabeleland South province.

Shari Eppel, the group’s director in the city of Bulawayo, said that seeds 
and fertilizer, known in farming circles as “inputs,” are not available to 
produce the staple food of maize.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti allocated money to buy inputs for the country’s 
poorest 100,000 farmers, and subsidized inputs for a further half-million 
vulnerable farmers, but officials have apparently not yet located and 
distributed the materials.

Eppel said Zimbabwe’s meteorological service and the Commercial Farmers 
Union agree that rains will be plentiful until year’s end, so people must 
plant crops now as there will be little rain from January onwards.

“The problem which people are facing in Matabeleland South and I assume all 
over country is that there are no free inputs available and it is absolutely 
crucial that people plant now,” said Shari Eppel.

She said research among some of the poorest families in Matabeleland South 
showed that many families are becoming ever weaker for lack of food, as 
crops failed because inputs were also late last year.

“Children were crying of hunger during interview sessions and by the second 
round of interviews in October adults were noticeably weaker,” said Eppel. 
“This is a real concern when you have a family with children when there is 
no food whatsoever in the house, which is the situation at the moment.”

Agriculture in Zimbabwe’s tense inclusive government is controlled by 
President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party.  So far the ministry has not 
replied to questions about the missing inputs.

Many Zimbabweans whose applications to work in South Africa failed are being 
deported home at present.  Eppel said South Africa should stop deporting 
them because their families were too poor to cope with another mouth to 

“I think it is disastrous at this state in terms of the additional pressure 
it is going to put on families,” she said. “Those family members are 
returning to a situation of  desperate poverty and it is simply going to 
exacerbate the desperate economic situation in the country.”

Eppel also said she is distressed at the lack of emergency food aid 
available for so many hungry Zimbabweans in the south of the country.


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