Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Zimbabwe Loses $12 Billion of Produce, Farmers’ Union Says

Zimbabwe Loses $12 Billion of Produce, Farmers’ Union Says

August 02, 2011, 7:41 AM EDT

By Brian Latham

Aug. 2 (Bloomberg) — Zimbabwe lost about $12 billion in agricultural output 
in the 10 years through 2009 after the government seized commercial farms 
from whites, the country’s Commercial Farmers’ Union said.

Total agricultural production based on today’s prices declined to 1.35 
million metric tons, or $1 billion, in 2009 from 4.3 million metric tons 
valued at $3.5 billion in 2000, the Harare-based group said on its website 

“If the aim of land reform was to evict whites and replace them with blacks, 
then it can be deemed a success,” CFU President Deon Theron said in an 
annual report on the union’s website. “However, if the aim was to benefit 
the majority and not only a chosen few, then it has been a failure.”

Theron said that the majority of land seized from white farmers had been 
given to politicians, senior members of the security forces, judges, civil 
servants and so-called veterans of the war against white-minority rule. Only 
1.8 percent of the former workers on the commercial farms and their families 
received land under the program, according to the CFU.

“President Robert Mugabe and his family ‘own’ 39 farms,” said Theron, who 
listed six members of Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic 
Front party with more than five farms in their families.

Calls to Mugabe’s office and official spokesman George Charamba seeking 
comment today weren’t immediately answered.

U.K. Study

Not all studies have shown the land seizures to be a failure.

In the Masvingo province, two-thirds of the land went to low-income 
Zimbabweans, while only 5 percent went to people linked to the 
“political-military-security elite,” according to a study by Ian Scoones at 
the U.K.’s Institute of Development Studies at Sussex University.

Corn production fell to 1.2 million metric tons this year from 2.04 million 
tons in 2000, while wheat production will probably drop to 6,000 tons from 
250,000 tons, the CFU estimated. The country needs about 1.4 million metric 
tons of corn to meet local demand and 450,000 tons of wheat.

Harvests of barley, cotton, small grains, soy beans, groundnuts, sunflower, 
tea, coffee, paprika, flowers, citrus and vegetables had also fallen, some 
by more than half, said Theron.


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