Land reform programme

27 08 2008

There are actually some white farmers left on the land. I was chatting to one on Thursday who happened to pass through the nursery – I will refer to him as AG. I asked him what he was doing and he replied the same that he always had; cattle and a few crops. He did admit that he was running a few butcheries in town and like a lot of farmers was selling produce for real money. Illegal of course and to avoid the various police roadblocks set up to intercept just such trade, he moved everything at night. One of my neighbours admitted to me that he’d sold his maize and soyas for real money. Why sell maize for $15 a tonne to the government when he could sell it for $300 a tonne privately? Why indeed! AG and I got onto the topic of paying staff. He paid his entirely in goods; maize meal, soap, oil etc which the valued more than money. I don’t have the luxury of growing my own crops so pay day for me is rather stressful and indeed this weekend I had a strike to sort out over exactly that issue – extra food. AG mentioned that a neighbour of his who is a very Fat Political Cat, had the previous day paid his general labourers 7 new Zimbabwe dollars (about 7c US) for the entire month – no additional goods or food!

In the same area as AG’s farm lies the remains of Zimbabwe’s largest wheat farm – 5000ha under irrigation. Nowadays nothing useful remains. Grain stores have had doorways knocked through them, the roofs stolen and now serve as livestock pens. All combine harvesters (more than 20) and tractors (50+) lie in ruins and the irrigation system is totally defunct. Such is land “reform”.