Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Resettled farmers fail to utilize land

Resettled farmers fail to utilize land

Posted on Monday 7 May 2012 – 10:45
Problem Masau, AfricaNews reporter in Harare, Zimbabwe

Resettled farmers in Zimbabwe are failing to utilize land due to 
inadequate farming inputs and lack of resources. “The owner of this farm is 
not around, he lives in Harare and we pay rentals to him, he is not into 
farming and he come here occasionally to collect his rentals, we don’t use 
the whole farm,” said another peasant farmer in Mapinga.

A survey by this reporter showed that at some farms, the beneficiaries 
have since relocated to other places subletting the land to other people.

Bushy land which used to be green belts can be seen along Harare- 
Chinhoyi with silos at Banket in sorry state.

The government haphazardly distributed land to the incapacitated peasant 
farmers without providing the necessary resources to kick start them into 

Most farmers said though they are proud land owners their ‘fortune’ do 
not translate into tangible benefits as the land lie idle ever year.

“We have a dam here but we cannot utilize it because we do not have the 
irrigation pipes, the MP of this area promised us the irrigation pipes when 
he was campaigning but nothing tangible have come out since,” said a farmer 
in Chegutu.

The situation has been worsened by corrupt officials who are taking 
agricultural inputs meant for farmers.

Grain Marketing Board has been fingered out in shoddy deals. Farmers say 
the parastatal’s incompetence is threatening to frustrate government’s land 
reform programme.

Since government embarked on the land reform programme in 2000, farmers 
who have been ‘soldiers’ of this revolution, have been faced with a number 
of challenges that have frustrated their efforts over the years.

Addressing delegates at an Agribusiness Forum in South Africa last year, 
Prime Minister Tsvangirai said while he genuinely believed in supporting the 
empowerment of indigenous people in the area of agriculture, his belief was 
to go further than simply doling out a farm without title, training, markets 
or downstream processing industries to enable beneficiation and 
value-addition to their products.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we cannot have a progressive society by creating 
more peasants, without security of tenure on their land and without the 
relevant infrastructure to engage in meaningful agriculture that averts food 
insecurity,” he told the delegates.

A government official and an economist who declined to be named, 
however, acknowledged that farmers were failing to fully utilize the land 
but was adamant that the land reform alleviated poverty.

“Prior to the fast track land reform process, large commercial farms 
received strong credit line support from both state and private financial 
institutions, while nearly all smallholders lacked such support. After fast 
track land reform, most of the private financial companies withdrew 
altogether from offering credit to farmers”

“Only two percent of resettled farmers “benefitted from private sector 
crop input schemes and none were beneficiaries for livestock programs.”

Financial support for the burgeoning number of farmers fell to the 
state, which was ill equipped to meet the need, with its financial resources 
stretched to the breaking point by economic sanctions. As a result, only a 
small percentage of resettled farmers were able to benefit from adequate 
credit support, compelling most of them to rely on their own savings to 

“Contrary to the rosy picture painted of the apartheid-era inherited 
land ownership pattern, most commercial farms focused on export crops.”

“International NGOs for the most part refused to provide any services to 
resettled farmers, and focused their efforts elsewhere. Relying for their 
funding on Western governments hostile to the land reform process, NGOs were 
loath to support the beneficiaries of a process they preferred to see fail.

Less than three percent of resettled farmers received extension support 
from NGOs. “Input assistance from NGOs was even lower with 1.7 percent of 
the beneficiaries having received such support.”

“And yet, despite all obstacles, many resettled farmers have managed to 
prosper. According to the IDS study, “impressive investments have been made 
in clearing the land, in livestock, in equipment, in transport and in 
housing, the scale of investment carried out by people themselves, and 
without significant support from government or aid agencies, is substantial, 
and provides firm foundations for the future.”

“Cattle holdings have a direct impact on crop production, and “the value 
of draft power, transport and manure is substantial. A recent study showed 
herd sizes in the resettled areas have grown, while households without 
cattle have declined.


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