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Decline in tobacco production dangerous

      April 5, 2006,

      By ANDnetwork .com

      CONTINUED decline in tobacco production could bring the tobacco
industry down to its knees if unchecked, a parliamentary committee heard

       The tobacco industry painted a gloomy picture on the state of
preparedness ahead of this year's season because of numerous challenges
faced. Tobacco auction floors representative Mr Wilson Nyabonde told the
parliamentary portfolio committee on Lands, Agriculture, Resettlement, Rural
Resources and Water Development yesterday that with the introduction of the
dual marketing system - auction floors continue to see declining sales with
only between 17 million and 20 million kilogrammes expected this selling
season. This is far below the pick of 237 million kilogrammes in 2000,
representing a seven to eight percent utilisation of available capacity for
the auction floors in the country. Mr Nyabonde said if the decline in
production continues, it would not be surprising that this could be the last
year there is for tobacco auctioning in the country. "The signals are that
with this trend, auctions will become a thing of the past," he said. He said
if auction floors failed to open next year, thousands of jobs would be lost
and world class auctioning facilities would be lost and that to restart
later may not be possible. "Auction floors initiatives to rebound the crop
have been met with serious difficulties. In 2004, the auction floors lost $1
billion on funding growers and the money remained unrecovered," he said. Mr
Nyabonde said the country had a serviceable infrastructure of curing
facilities for a crop of 150 million kg but most of the infrastructure was
in the hands of non-tobacco growers. Success stories of tobacco production
like Brazil, he said, showed strong government participation in the funding
of the crop. "Government puts funding up front which is channelled through
the corporate sector for the growing of the crop on a full recovery basis,
this can also be channelled through the auction floors and recovered through
the stop order system," he said. Tobacco Growers Trust chairman Mr Wilfanos
Mashingaidze said despite the allocation of substantial resources to the
tobacco sector, growth and productivity improvement have not been achieved
largely due to inconsistent policies and implementation problems. He said
tobacco farmers, particularly smallholder farmers had difficulties in
accessing finance and inputs. The farmers, he said, were also affected by
poor prices due to binding exchange rate policies. "A number of proposals
have been submitted to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe by Tobacco Growers Trust
suggesting how to cushion the marginalised small holder farmers but these
have largely been ignored," said Mr Mashingaidze. He said a national bonded
warehouse should be put in place for tobacco inputs, to utilise the export
retention facility paid out at the point of sale in a move to reduce
distortions in the price of the dollar paid to the farmer when selling and
when buying. "Devaluation may not be in the national interest as a tool for
increasing tobacco grower viability but the provision of price support in
foreign currency to support the national inputs bonded warehouse," said Mr
Mashingaidze. He said farmers' associations must be actively involved in the
distribution of inputs to avoid marginalisation of the poor smallholder
farmers. Secretary for Agriculture Mr Simon Pazvakavambwa said based on the
past performance, there was potential for an increase in the production of
flue-cured tobacco, if resources are made available in time. "The average
production budget is $315 million per hectare inclusive of land preparation,
fuel, coal, labour and marketing costs. Some costs for large holder growers
can be more than this depending on the type of coal used, Zesa charges,
fuel, mechanisation, irrigation and high labour costs," he said.

      -The Herald-

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Economic ruin, not MDC, will bring Mugabe down

Business Day

Dumisani Muleya


WITH Zimbabwean opposition and civil society groups fractured and disabled,
the country's economic crisis has become President Robert Mugabe's biggest

Recent studies have shown Zimbabwe has the fastest-shrinking economy in the
world - outside of a war zone, that is. It also has the highest inflation in
the world at 782%, followed by Iraq at 40%. To top it off, Zimbabwe has the
weakest currency in Africa.

Countries reeling from bouts of civil war such as Sudan, Somalia and Côte d'Ivoire
and poverty-ridden ones like East Timor, Afghanistan and Guinea-Bissau have
lower rates of inflation than Zimbabwe, which is not classified a poor
country by the United Nations even with its current conditions. Zimbabwe is
endowed with human capital and natural resources. This is why the prevailing
situation is such an indictment of Mugabe, whose regime has distinguished
itself for being corrupt and incompetent. No amount of revolutionary
demagoguery by Mugabe and his hangers-on can mask this.

Mugabe's rule has become costly and unsustainable. His continued hold on
power is proving to be an active agent of economic decline, poverty and
sociopolitical instability. The collateral damage of Mugabe's reign on
regional economies is also ominous.

Zimbabwe's rampant inflation is soon expected to break the 1000% mark as
government continues to print money on a massive scale to keep itself in
power. After that the country will plunge in to a spiral of hyperinflation.
The country has, over the past couple of months, printed Z$46-trillion to
pay international debts and sustain government operations.

Mugabe has come out in defence of printing money, a move which all but
confirmed the policy bankruptcy of his regime. For a president who is
supposed to be an educated economist - with seven university degrees - it is
even more embarrassing.

A study titled Macroeconomics in the Global Economy by Jeffrey Sachs and
Felipe Larrain B, notes that the main causes of inflation are revolutions,
wars, civil strife and exogenous factors, which all inevitably lead to the
printing of money. Printing money increases money supply growth and hence

For the US, before the 20th century, the main cause of inflation - which
peaked at an annual rate of 5570% and 40% monthly in 1864 - was printing
money to finance the civil war. At one time over 80% of the total US
government financing was from paper money. The same situation gripped Europe
after wars.

During the 1980s, hyperinflationary conditions developed in many Latin
American such as Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru and Nicaragua, and in the
former Yugoslavia. The situation in Zimbabwe is different from these other
countries but the conditions for hyperinflation already exist. The economic
indicators, unemployment, interest rates, exchange rate and business
performance, are grim.

Corruption has also reached alarming levels. Government and the ruling Zanu
(PF) officials are falling on each other to strip the economy of its assets
and loot whatever remains. The officials have descended on the cadaverous
economy like vultures. They have taken farms, safaris, companies, they are
looting minerals and now they want to grab mines. They are also abusing
public assets for private gain. This has been acknowledged by government
itself but nothing is being done to save the economy. Rent-seeking behaviour
in the public and private sectors is also rampant. These issues are
accelerating economic collapse.

The divided opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and civil
society movements are disorganised and weak. The MDC wrangles have ensured
that the party becomes ineffective and not a notable threat to Mugabe. If
the MDC and civil society groups were strong, Mugabe's regime would not last
long. The economic hardships and popular discontent, if capably exploited by
the MDC, would be the most lethal political weapon against the Mugabe.

Ultimately, the economy will be the agent of change in Zimbabwe - not the
MDC. The economy and dynamics in Mugabe's party are now the major driving
forces behind slow but sure collapse of Mugabe's regime.

There is no elected government in modern history which has survived
four-digit levels of inflation and such an economic crisis. The writing is
on the wall - the economy will be Mugabe's downfall.

 Muleya is Harare correspondent and Zimbabwe Independent news editor

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Zanu (PF) in bid to seal growing cracks in party

Business Day

Dumisani Muleya


Harare Correspondent

ZIMBABWE's ruling Zanu (PF) was forced this week to call an emergency caucus
meeting as infighting among Zimbabwe's senators and lower house legislators

The meeting yesterday exposed the intensifying power struggle within the
ruling party among legislators and those in the senate, set up by President
Robert Mugabe last year.

Vice-President Joseph Msika, in a speech read of his behalf at the party's
caucus meeting by Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, said the wrangling
among MPs was "deplorable". The infighting was beginning to undermine the
party's legislative agenda and parliamentary operations.

Msika's comments, reported in the state-controlled Herald newspaper
yesterday, was a rare admission of discord in Mugabe's camp.

Msika condemned squabbles between recently elected senators from Mugabe's
Zanu (PF) and party legislators.

"This kind of behaviour is deplorable, and only serves to benefit our
enemies at the detriment of effective party policy implementation," said
Msika in the speech read on his behalf.

"Let us behave like responsible people, and desist from such retrogressive
behaviour," he said.

Msika said some Zanu (PF) legislators looked down on the new senators
elected to office last November while other senators were "bent on
frustrating the efforts" of other MPs.

The first sign of cracks in the ruling party came in late 2004, when some
senior party members tried to derail the appointment of Zimbabwe's second
Vice-President, Joyce Mujuru.

Similarly, Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa and Reserve Bank governor Gideon
Gono, the country's key economic managers, clashed last month over policy
issues as the economy continues to slide.

The battle for control between Murerwa and Gono, which involves other
ministers and Zanu (PF) officials, exposed widening fissures in government
in critical policy matters.

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and attorney-general Sobusa Gula-Ndebele
also are at loggerheads over the proposed law to make the attorney general's
office more independent. The two have reportedly fought in the cabinet on
this issue.

The infighting in Zanu (PF) and government is linked to the power struggle
over Mugabe's likely successor.

Zanu (PF) is divided into two broad camps, one led by retired army commander
Gen Solomon Mujuru, Joyce Mujuru's husband, and the other by party luminary
Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The bickering among legislators is part of the wider power struggle that has
left Zanu (PF) ragged.

Zanu (PF) lower house MPs and senators sometimes organise different meetings
at the same constituency at the same time, showing a complete lack of common

Mugabe's party has been in power in Zimbabwe since independence in 1980, and
he has managed to shrug off political challenges from the only credible
opposition party to emerge, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

The MDC has been severely weakened by a recent split. With Sapa-DPA

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Running out of time

This past week has seen several interesting developments on the continent.
The major one being the decision by the West African States to abandon their
protective screen around Charles Taylor. He promptly slipped away from his
hide out in Nigeria and was mysteriously picked up a few days later (I
suspect by special forces) and today arrived in Monrovia to face trial for
the atrocities he committed in the region over a period of nearly 15 years.

I remember when he first put in an appearance and the BBC picked up his
voice from the depths of the West African bush, brash and outspoken, this
American educated thug then went on to become one of Africa's so called "big
men". Using child soldiers and others he is responsible for hundreds of
thousands of deaths. The slaughter that he unleashed in fact only stopped
when a small force of British soldiers arrived and actually initiated a
peace-making role that was astonishing effective. Like all bullies and
thugs, when faced with a well-trained group who mean business, he was no
match and his days were over when West African leaders ganged up on him and
forced him into exile in Nigeria.

He now faces justice in a Court run by the government that he once
terrorized. He did not look all that cocky this morning when he was bundled
out of a helicopter and into an armored vehicle. Almost at the same time the
Americans announced that they had taken into custody his son - once the key
player in the Presidential guard for Taylor.

Then Mr. Blair - Prime Minister of Britain, made a series of key policy
speeches - one in London and another to the Australian Parliament last week.
I listened to the latter and was most impressed. He called for a coalition
of countries to support good governance and democracy throughout the world.
He argued that the historical practice of "non interference in internal
affairs" no longer held sway where the government in question abused their
people, were a threat to regional stability and security or global security
and stability. He actually cited Zimbabwe and Iran as two examples of States
where he felt the domestic situation demanded concerted action by the
international community.

I do not think for one minute that this means a return to gunboat diplomacy.
But it does mean a much tougher stance by the majority of countries towards
those who blatantly abuse their people and whose actions threaten their
region. It also means that not only is time running out for many who fit
into this category but also that there are fewer hiding places.

When Mengistu fled Ethiopia - at the behest of the United States and was
flown to Harare in a US military jet to be given sanctuary by the Mugabe
regime, the US was in effect ducking the issue and allowing a tyrant and a
murderer to get away with his crimes - because it was thought that this was
the only way to get him out of the way so that Ethiopia and the region it
dominates, could find its feet and start to recover. He still lives in
comparative luxury in Harare and his family seems to be able to move more or
less freely throughout the world. I think this would be much more difficult
to achieve today.

Then on the home front we saw the Zanu PF pantomime in full swing. One of
the senior policemen in the close protection unit for the Mugabe clan died
under mysterious circumstances - one report said his family thought he had
been poisoned. It turns out this was the same man who had threatened to tell
Mr. Mugabe about his wife's infidelities and as a reward he was
unceremoniously dumped; only to be re-instated and then die. But the charade
did not stop there - he was declared a "National Hero" and without a
postmortem buried with full military honors watched by a crowd that
comprised men and women from the armed forces who were told to attend "or
else" and to do so in mufti.

At the funeral Mr. Mugabe completed the play by abusing all his detractors
and reserving special venom for Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC Party. Our
great leader and senior African democrat, a "big man" in a league all by
himself, threatened the leadership of the MDC with death if they dared to
challenge Zanu PF supremacy.

Then Mr. Mugabe moved into the Ministry of Finance and decided that the
Commissioner of Taxes - actually quite a competent man in his own right who
has done a reasonable job in very difficult circumstances - was not good at
collecting taxes. So what does our "big man" do? He takes the head of the
Army - a very nasty character, and puts him in charge of the Tax Department.
Heaven knows what he is going to do in this job - any way, not much going on
in the army and if he does not collect big time soon, the army is going to
starve along with the rest of us.

If anyone needed proof that we are now under a military junta - this is it.
Military officers of various shapes and sizes and rank now run the National
Parks, the Electoral process in Home Affairs, the Grain Marketing Board, the
Attorney generals Office and Noczim. They are present in all the structures
of government and whenever Mugabe encounters problems he turns to the
military to step into the breech.

Understandable really as the military, police and the CIO are the last
remaining pillars of the State under Zanu PF. If we had a real, free and
fair election today under genuine democratic conditions, Zanu PF would cease
to exist as a functioning entity. They know this and that is why they will
do everything in their power to avoid such an eventuality.

But like the driver of a run away train - they know where they are headed,
they know it means destruction and a huge crash with all of us passengers on
board, but they simply do not know what to do. They cannot stop the train
and they cannot divert it in another direction - the rails see to that. They
cannot jump off and risk breaking their necks in the process - anyway the
'big man" in charge is likely to shoot or poison any who try to defect at
this stage.

I spoke to a diplomat this past week and he said he had met with a wide
range of Zanu PF leaders in recent weeks - all of whom were in despair about
the economy, inflation, the increasing isolation and the collapsing
infrastructure. But not one of them had the slightest idea as to what to do.
What he did not say was that time is running out on these goons and that it
is most unlikely that the "big man" has very long to go.

Eddie Cross
Bulawayo, 4th April 2006

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Military taking control of food production, claims NGO

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

JOHANNESBURG, 5 Apr 2006 (IRIN) - The military has taken control of food
production by small-scale farmers in parts of southern Zimbabwe, a rights
NGO headed by church leaders claimed on Wednesday.

The Solidarity Peace Trust alleged that under the guise of Operation
Taguta/Sisuthi or 'Operation Eat Well', launched last year to help revive
the agriculture sector, army units have "hijacked" plots and maize harvests
in the southern province of Matabeleland, leaving the smallholder-farmers
with no income or food.

"The fact that they have taken away the farmers' food, which is rightfully
theirs - produced by their hard labour - is a hugely immoral issue,"
commented Bishop Rubin Phillip, the Anglican Bishop of KwaZulu-Natal in
South Africa. Phillip chairs the trust, along with Pius Ncube, the
Archbishop of Bulawayo in Zimbabwe.

Phillip and Bishop Kevin Dowling of Rustenburg in South Africa, who visited
Matabeleland last week to investigate the impact of the deployment of the
army on rural communities, released a report on their findings at a press
conference in Johannesburg. The trust also released a videorecording of
interviews with some of the affected farmers.

The church leaders described the operation as "Command Agriculture" and
claimed that soldiers had seized early maize harvests on some farms and
threatened to take custody of the produce due in the next few weeks. This
was a violation of the Grain Marketing Board Act, which allows producers to
keep output needed for household consumption. The trust has asked the
government to respect the rights of small-scale farmers.

"Plot-holders perceive that they are being treated as indentured labour,
with no rights and no claim over the produce they have laboured all summer
to produce," the report commented.

The soldiers, insisting that only maize could be grown on the plots, have
destroyed vegetable gardens and fruits trees that supplemented the incomes
and diet of small-scale farmers during the lean season, alleged Dowling.
"This destruction has turned plot-holders into paupers overnight."

Soldiers with limited knowledge of agriculture had spent more than a month
tilling the land for the farmers, which delayed maize planting, the church
leaders alleged. In some cases, the farmers were unable to make use of the
good rains this year - "the best in 20 years" - and had failed to plant at
all, Dowling said.

One of the farmers in the videorecording claimed the soldiers had threatened
to beat him if he refused to obey them. Phillip said they had also received
complaints of solders sexually abusing schoolgirls in some of the villages.
"The presence of soldiers ... has disrupted the social fabric and left
people angry and afraid," the report noted.

The church leaders claimed that the deployment of the army to the rural
areas had been made with the Rural District Elections, due in September, in
mind: the plan was to take the produce from the rural areas to ensure that
the urban population was fed to prevent any unrest over food shortages.

Didymus Mutasa, Minister of National Security, who chairs the National
Taskforce on Food Security, dismissed the allegations as "lies".

He confirmed that the army had been deployed under Operation Taguta/Sisuthi
to revive the agriculture sector. "They are going to help small-scale
farmers till their land to grow maize - they will also grow maize on other
state-owned land in the country to boost our maize production. As you know,
we do not have enough maize and we have to buy from South Africa, which is
very expensive."

The maize produced would be sold by the army, which would deduct a share of
the profit for its services and the remainder would be given to the farmer,
he explained.

News reports suggested that the government launched Operation Taguta/Sisuthi
last year, but had been unable to raise the full US $151 million required.
Quoting a Zimbabwean parliamentary report, the privately-owned Zimbabwe
Independent said the initiative aimed to produce 2.3 million mt of maize.

However, despite a good rainy season, the national maize output is expected
to reach only 900,000 mt, or around two-thirds of the country's requirement,
according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

Zimbabwe has experienced food shortages for the past four years, mainly due
to erratic weather conditions, the impact of the chaotic fast-track land
reform programme on the agricultural sector and a lack of foreign currency
to import inputs, such as fuel and fertiliser.

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Zimbabwe Maize Farmers Get 1,400% Producer Price Hike

By Carole Gombakomba
      05 April 2006

The Zimbabwean government has sharply increased the price it pays farmers
for their maize output to Z$31.3 million a metric tonne from Z$2.1 million,
dollars - an increase of more than 1,000%. Agriculture Minister Joseph Made
said the new price doubled the Z$15 million a tonne farmers had asked to
ensure the viability of farming.

Meanwhile, agriculture authorities were reportedly stepping up monitoring of
farmers, many of whom prefer to sell maize and other crops to dealers in the
parallel market offering superior prices - most recently said to be some
Z$35 million a tonne.

Harare's critics say that although the government denies there is a food
supply crisis, international donor agencies continue to try to help an
estimated 4 million people in need of food aid. Last month Deputy
Agriculture Minister Sylvester Nguni testified in parliament that the
government has no foreign currency to import maize, and China donated 3,000
tonnes of maize to alleviate Zimbabwe's critical shortage.

Despite the dramatic increase in the price paid to maize producers, experts
say that Harare's latest move isn't likely to significantly ease the grain

Reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe asked independent
agronomist Roger Mpande of Harare for his view on the government strategy.

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Poor farming techniques leave Africa hungry-report


Wed 5 Apr 2006 4:44 AM ET
JOHANNESBURG, April 5 (Reuters) - Outmoded farming methods, rather than bad
weather or AIDS, are keeping Africa hungry, a think-tank said on Wednesday.

"Poor farming techniques, rather than drought or AIDS, were the reason why a
hectare of arable land in sub-Saharan Africa produced less than half the
amount of the rest of the developing world and only 20 percent
of the average yield in Europe," researcher Frans Cronje said.

"While AIDS and erratic weather patterns have been identified as aggravating
food insecurity these factors were not sufficient to explain the high levels
of undernourishment," Conje said in a statement accompanying a report that
was part of a survey by the South African Institute of Race Relations

"International comparisons show that implementing better farming techniques
is crucial to reducing hunger," Cronje said.

AIDS and drought have been blamed for many of Africa's hunger crises,
including widespread crop failure in the southern region of the continent
last year that left close to 12 million people in need of food aid.

AIDS is seen as a factor because it is killing off peasants in the prime of
life, leaving orphans and old people to carry out the physically arduous
tasks of subsistence farming.

SAIRR said two basic but essential farming techniques were not practiced
widely enough in Africa -- irrigation and the application of fertiliser.

The report said sub-Saharan Africa had the lowest amount of irrigated land
as a proportion of total crop area in the developing world. It also had the
lowest consumption of fertiliser per hectare.

But irrigation is costly on a continent that is the world's poorest. And
other analysts have pointed out that African farming has been hindered by a
lack of the large river systems needed for irrigation.

"While cereal yield on the subcontinent had increased by 18 percent over the
past decade, as much as 40 percent of sub-Saharan Africa's population
remained malnourished," the report said.

"Sub-Saharan Africa would need to double its cereal output in order to
eliminate hunger and malnourishment on the continent."

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Zim sets price controls in inflation fight


          April 05 2006 at 02:24PM

      By Cris Chinaka

      Harare - Zimbabwe has imposed price controls on several essential
commodities and services in a move to control run-away inflation, but
analysts say this will have little impact on an economy already on its

      The southern African country is battling a deepening economic crisis
which critics blame on President Robert Mugabe and which has driven
inflation to the highest level in the world - an annual 782 percent in

      Mugabe's government has branded inflation and corruption as
arch-enemies in its war to revive an economy which has shrunk by an
estimated 40 percent in the last seven years.

      Analysts say predictions that inflation could hit 1 000 percent before
mid-year and probably spark public unrest have left the government in a
state of desperation which has seen it impose a new round of price controls
on some goods and services.

      Zimbabwe's state power utility Zesa, struggling to import electricity
from neighbouring countries, was last month ordered to abandon a 570 percent
price increase after the central bank said it would fuel inflation beyond

      And this week, the government forced private doctors and hospitals to
freeze a 240 percent increase in medical fees, after recently ordering
municipal authorities to stagger proposed huge rises in service charges over
a 12-month period.

      In theory, Zimbabwe also has price controls on bread, milk, cooking
oil, sugar, maize meal, fuel and bus fares, but in reality all are only
available at many times the stipulated rates.

      Analysts say superficial price controls without a rise in production
across the economy's key agriculture, mining and manufacturing sectors would
do little to reverse the country's fortunes.

      "The price controls appear like a sign of desperation... but I don't
think they will have the desired results," said James Jowa, an economist
with a Harare-based financial services group.

      "It looks like just another patchwork on a tattered cloth that needs
to be replaced," he said.

      Urban workers have borne the brunt of Zimbabwe's economic crisis,
marked by chronic shortages of food, fuel and foreign currency.

      Prices of basic commodities are rising almost daily while wages have
remained largely stagnant.

      Mugabe, who has used tough security laws to clamp down on protests in
recent years, last week warned opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai that he
would be "dicing with death" if he tries to drive him out of power through
mass demonstrations.

      Leading economic consultant John Robertson also said price controls
were only a temporary relief for consumers that would further distort
Zimbabwe's key indicators.

      "The economy is a victim of government policies under which property
rights are either not recognised or are recognised grudgingly and are always
under threat," he said.

      Robertson said after Mugabe's land seizure drive, a recent government
proposal to pass an empowerment law for "indigenous" blacks to take up 51
percent of shares in foreign mining firms had further damaged the country's
economic environment.

      "The only predictable thing is that you cannot predict what the
governement will do next," said Robertson.

      "You cannot have a sustainable economic recovery programme in an
environment in which policies are not clear and consistent and in which the
government is bullying and antagonising almost everyone in turns," he added.

      Critics say Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980,
has run down what was once a thriving economy through mismanagement.

      But the veteran leader blames sabotage by foreign and domestic
opponents of his land reforms, under which white-owned farms have been
seized for reallocation to landless blacks.

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Rule of law can weatherproof Africa against climate change

moneyweb, SA

       Dr Oliver Hartwich
      Posted: Wed, 05 Apr 2006 15:00 | © Moneyweb Holdings Limited,

      Scientists have established a link between agrarian productivity in
Africa and weather patterns in the Atlantic: they claim that climate change
could cut the food supply by 20-50%. This might make sense if climate were
the only factor in production but it is not-as shown by dry, rich Australia
and wet, fertile, shattered Zimbabwe.

      It is no surprise that weather and harvests are connected but,
especially in the case of African agriculture, it is unreasonable to assume
that climate is the dominant, let alone the only, factor. Yet this is what
these scientists seem to believe.

      Let us be clear: there is no need to doubt the evidence about current
correlations between climate and harvests. It is wrong, however, to suggest
that the climate alone determines whether Africa's agriculture will thrive
or fail. That will be is a matter of economics, management and economic

      Although more than 70% of Africans work on the land, they produce only
16,5% of the continent's gross domestic product (GDP) or 29% in sub-Saharan

      To put agriculture and its dependence on climate into perspective, let
us look at history. In the late 19th and early 20th century there was a
country that was heavily dependent on agriculture. It was the main export
and the agricultural share of GDP reached more than 30%.

      Consequently, this country was vulnerable to any event that affected
agriculture: droughts were dreaded and a decline in world market prices for
wool, for example, led to a severe economic depression in the 1890s.

      That country is Australia. Today agriculture contributes less than 4%
to the country's economy and employs only a tiny share of the workforce. In
absolute terms, however, its agriculture produces more than ever - yet it is
one of the driest places on Earth.

      There is no imminent disaster in Australia from potential climate
change. With irrigation, improved seeds, machinery and pesticides, it has
made their agriculture not only less weather-dependent but also much more
productive. This increased productivity enabled many Australians to follow
pursuits other than growing wheat or herding cattle and sheep.

      These people were then working in manufacturing or services and it was
in this way that Australia became a "weatherproof economy" with a GDP per
capita of more than US$30 000 a year. Were Australia to suffer more droughts
in the future, it could still import its food from neighbouring New Zealand,
which has a much wetter climate.

      There is much to be learned from Australia's agricultural history. It
started off in a position not too dissimilar to that of many African
countries today but now it produces far more with far less and is no longer
dependent on agriculture. Furthermore, Australia is now far richer than
Africa and thus much better prepared to adapt to possible climate changes.

      What actually drove Australia's transformation from a mainly
agricultural country to a weatherproof economy? It would be easy to point to
the technological advances such as irrigation systems, tractors or
pesticides. But behind these there is a more fundamental factor at work.

      When Australia was settled by the British, it received the
institutions that had developed in Britain over many centuries, the most
important of which was the rule of law. This made it possible to define,
defend and transfer property rights-the basis of a wealth-creating market
economy. It is these institutions that allowed many other wealth-enhancing
factors such as better health, education and research and development to

      The World Bank recently tried to measure the wealth created in
economies around the globe. The absolute differences between rich and poor
countries were not too high when it came to the available cropland per head.
What really made the difference was the so-called intangible capital: human
skills and know-how as well as good governance.

      It is in this field that it was most obvious which countries were poor
and which were rich. Australia, for example, had built up an intangible
capital of almost US$300 000 per capita whereas many African countries did
not even reach 10% of this figure. Most strikingly, the World Bank experts
estimated that the rule of law explained almost 60% of the formation of
intangible capital.

      We have seen that Australia no longer fears changes in the climate.
Yet this is not because it has a comparatively small agricultural sector but
because it had a legal and economic system that made it more and more
independent of the weather and ultimately of its agriculture.

      This means that climate change need not be disastrous for Africa. But
to deal with it when it occurs, Africans need the institutions of the free
society on which their agriculture and their economies can grow. Just like
Australians did, with the rule of law, property rights and free markets,
Africans too could build weatherproof economies.

      Author: Dr Oliver Hartwich is a Research Fellow on environmental
issues at International Policy Network, a development charity in London,
which promotes the institutions of the free society
The views expressed in the article are the author's.

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RBZ to Import 70 000t Fertilizer

The Herald (Harare)

April 5, 2006
Posted to the web April 5, 2006

Martin Kadzere

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) intends to import over 70 000 tonnes of
ammonium nitrate and urea in the next few weeks for winter wheat production
which commences early next month.

Importation had already started although no figures could be obtained by the
time of going to press. Central bank officials who spoke to Herald Business
this week said some lines of credit worth about US$40 million had already
been secured for the procurement of the critical agriculture input. The
US$40 million is part of the US$172 million that the Government intends to
use to finance the winter wheat programme.

The remainder would be used for the importation of fuel and other critical
chemicals. "As you can see, Government and various stakeholders are fully
committed to increasing production of wheat. "This is why the central bank
has decided to look for credit lines so that enough fertilizer is made
available to farmers," said some RBZ officials. Fertilizer production has
been hit by foreign currency shortages resulting in the country's three
fertilizer manufacturing companies failing to meet demand.

Last season most communal farmers failed to access top dressing fertilize r,
which was likely to affect yields despite the good rains. Zimbabwe requires
about 600 000 tonnes of fertilizer but currently produces just over 300 000
tonnes. "We are hopeful that the country could cut its import bill if winter
wheat is adequately funded and ensure all critical imports are available,"
sources added. The Government targets to put about 110 000 hectares under
wheat and has already availed $3,2 trillion for this purpose. Zimbabwe has
been spending millions of dollars on wheat imports, which has pushed bread
prices beyond the reach of many. Acute shortages of tillage services,
irrigation facilities, seed and fuel, however, remain a threat to wheat

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Report on Operation Taguta/Sisuthi

Click to read Kubatana's Report on Operation Taguta/Sisuthi - Command Agriculture in Zimbabwe: its impact on rural communities in Matabeleland

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MP's Motion Would Indict Mugabe

Embassy, Canada

Embassy, April 5th, 2006
By Brian Adeba

Liberal MP Keith Martin plans to put forward a motion in Parliament that
would make it possible to arrest Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe for crimes
against humanity, should he ever set foot in Canada
A motion to indict Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe on charges of crimes
against humanity will be brought before Parliament once it resumes its
duties after Easter in late April. Liberal MP Keith Martin, who is

the motion, says he planned to move the motion since last year, but wasn't
able to do so because of his position as Parliamentary Secretary for Defence
during the last Liberal administration.

"It is within the context of our laws to be able to indict Mugabe for crimes
against humanity, which would mean that if he ever set foot in Canada, he
will be arrested and tried," says Mr. Martin. Currently, Canada has imposed
a travel ban on senior officials of the Zimbabwe government.

The general case against foreigners accused of war crimes and crimes against
humanity is set out in Canada's Criminal Code as well as the Crimes Against
Humanity and War Crimes Act passed five years ago. In both the Code and the
Act, torture is illegal regardless of the identity and nationality of the
perpetrator, the victim, and regardless of where the crime was committed.

In essence, since Mr. Mugabe is accused of crimes against humanity, which is
likely to include the charge of torture, he is liable for prosecution in

Once before Parliament, members do not have to vote on the motion to pass
it. If the Minister of Justice, who also happens to be the Attorney General,
gives ascent, then the process can be executed.

"The nice thing about this option is that [MPs] don't need to necessarily
agree or disagree with the motion," says Mr. Martin. "They just need to say,
'we allow you to do this.'"

As a member of a Commonwealth observer group which visited Zimbabwe in 2002,
Mr. Martin says he was appalled by the rampant starvation he witnessed. "The
people I saw told me 'if something is not done, we are going to starve to
death,'" says Mr. Martin.

"There's an enormous body of evidence against Mugabe," says Mr. Martin,
adding that many human rights bodies have documented Mr. Mugabe's alleged

Amir Attaran, a professor of law at the University of Ottawa and a long-time
campaigner to have the Canadian government prosecute individuals under the
Crimes Against Humanity Act, says he applauds Mr. Martin's decision, but
urges him to include high ranking officials of Mr. Mugabe's government in
the indictment.

"You can't simply do the head of state because of immunity issues, but
certainly his lieutenants [are not immune]--cronies are special to [the
indictment]," says Mr. Attaran, adding that members of Mr. Mugabe's party,
the ZANU-PF, as well as the head of police, heads of youth organizations
affiliated to the ruling party and government ministers, could be complicit
in crimes against humanity.

"Canada takes comfort [in] talk [rather] than action and it is time it made
use of this law," says Mr. Attaran.

He also said that the Crimes Against Humanity Act is broader and could be
the best avenue through which to indict Mr. Mugabe and his officials. Once
the Minister of Justice, Vic Toews, gives ascent to prosecute, an arrest
warrant could be issued and Mr. Mugabe can be arrested anywhere in the
world, says Mr. Attaran.

"Pinochet was arrested in London not because anyone in Britain was
prosecuting him, but because the lawyer who was after him wanted him for
crimes against Spaniards committed in Chile," says Mr. Attaran.

But Florence Zano Chideya, Zimbabwe's ambassador to Canada, calls the plan
to indict Mr. Mugabe "unwarranted and baseless." "[It] constitutes yet
another weak attempt to perpetuate the current wave of negativity directed
at Zimbabwe," she says in a statement.

Ms. Chideya says the charge is based on a misrepresentation of facts adding
that it ignores the history of Zimbabwe.

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Court orders Tsvangirai faction to release seized vehicle

      April 5, 2006

      By Tagu Mkwenyani

      Harare (AND) THE High Court has ordered the Morgan Tsvangirai led
faction to return a vehicle seized from the pro-senate faction by its youths
in broad daylight in Harare a week ago.

      The seizure of the vehicle highlighted a growing tussle for the
divided opposition party's assets. Both the anti-senate and pro-senate
faction are claiming ownership of MDC vehicles and offices following a split
in the party which resulted in two distinct camps in the once formidable

      The party, which was well supported by the donors since its formation
two years ago, has assets whose value runs into several billions of dollars
and have become a subject of bitter dispute between the two camps. In a
statement, Morgan Changamire, the Deputy Secretary for Information for
Information and Publicity said he hoped the Tsvangirai group would comply
with Justice Chitakunye's provisional order for the return of the vehicle
with a registration number AAB7931.

      "The culprit, Barnabas Ndira was represented by Jessie Majome who
doubles as NCA spokesperson and deputy secretary for legal in the Tsvangirai
group. Barnabas revealed that he was under instruction from the Tsvangirai
group's top leadership to seize all movable assets that are under the
possession of the MDC. "We are not surprised by Ndira's disclosure, and as
stated in our previous press statement, these acts of criminality ad
lawlessness are committed under the direction, knowledge and tacit support
of Tsvangirai group's top leadership.

      Now that the order has been given by the High Court, the Tsvangirai
group must comply and return vehicle in its original state."

      Zimbabwe Bureau

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Cost of completing Tokwe-Murkosi dam soars

      April 5, 2006

      By Andnetwork .com

      The cost of completing the giant Tokwe-Mukorsi Dam in Chivi District
continues to soar with officials saying at least 36 million euros is now
needed to finish the work.

      This comes amid mounting calls in Masvingo Province for Government to
engage the private sector to chip in. Construction of the dam -- billed to
become the largest inland water body in Zimbabwe with a holding capacity of
1,3 billion cubic metres of water -- was halted in 1999.

      Work was stalled following a dispute between Government and the main
contractor -- Salini-Impregilio -- an Italian company over the payment of 12
million euros, which is attracting a monthly interest of 300 000 euros. Only
work requiring Zimbabwean currency has been taking place although this year
no funds have been channelled towards the project.

      Masvingo provincial administrator Mr Felix Chikovo yesterday said
Government was still to release money for the dam. "As a province, we feel
that the completion of the dam might be possible if we include other
non-State actors who might have an interest in the dam," said Mr Chikovo.

      He said they were awaiting Government approval to invite private
investors. Th e Italian firm has said it would only resume work after the
payment of the 12 million euros. Construction of the Tokwe-Mukorsi Dam,
which is at the confluence of Tokwe and Mukorsi rivers in Chivi, started in
1998 and the dam was supposed to be completed in March 2002 at a cost of
only $390 million. Once completed, Tokwe-Mukorsi Dam is expected to boost
economic development in Masvingo driven by increased agricultural

      Source: The Herald

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Zim to Feel Pressure of Oil Price Increase

The Herald (Harare)

April 5, 2006
Posted to the web April 5, 2006


THE recent upward movements in international crude oil prices will put
pressure on Zimbabwe's already struggling fuel industry.

Last Thursday, international oil prices hit two-month highs at US$65 per
barrel due to a huge slump in US oil inventories since August 2003,
geo-political tensions and fears of disruptions in supply from Iran and
Nigeria. Over the past three years, fuel -- petrol and diesel -- in Zimbabwe
has continued to be the "unattainable elixir" on the official system
although it is readily available on the black market, at unrealistically
high prices. "However, prices cannot be allowed to rampantly rise, as a
result of the need to profiteer.

There is need to strike a balance between input costs and revenue, and to be
aware of what unwarranted price increases could do to inflation," warned one
economist. An increase in the cost of fuel has a direct upward price
movement impact in a wide range of products and services. Its cost-push
effects have been felt on the inflation front, which has ballooned to 782

The Reserve Bank, in its 2005 fourth quarter monetary policy review stateme
nt, noted: "As part of the fiscal re-alignment process, it is also critical
that the relevant authorities realign the fuel sector, in a manner that
removes room for retrogressive arbitrage and rent-seeking behaviour.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe last year burnt over 351 million litres of diesel and
petrol to keep industry and commerce rolling. Industry statistics show that
the total value of the fuel amounted to US$33 million or Z$33 trillion at
the current exchange rate. However, the figure is just a small fraction of
the US$840 million, which Zimbabwe needs for fuel imports a year

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Tourism revenue down 49% in Zimbabwe

Angola Press

Harare, Zimbabwe 04/05 -- Zimbabwe`s Tourism Authority said Tuesday that the
country`s earnings from the industry fell by 49 percent to 98 million US
dollars, last year, compared to 2004.

It said in a statement, the drop in revenue was due to fewer visitors,
especially high-spending tourists from western Europe, because of perceived
political instability in the country.

Many western governments have advised their nationals against visiting
Zimbabwe, whose government they accuse of repression and human rights

The tourism agency said a total of 1,558,501 foreign tourists visited
Zimbabwe last year, compared to 1,854,488 in 2004, when the country earned
USD193.7 million from the industry.

Tourism, once a key revenue earner for Zimbabwe has fallen on hard times
after a stand-off over land reform between the Harare government and former
colonial power Britain and London`s European allies.

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Mugabe's former pilot dies after stroke

From Associated Press, 5 April

Harare - Air Vice Marshall Ian Harvey, a retired three-star general and
Zimbabwe's last white air force officer, died on Tuesday of medical
complications after suffering a stroke, family said. He was 65. Harvey, who
served through four turbulent decades in the southern African country,
collapsed at his Harare home on March 14, his wife, Penny, said. Harvey
began his air force career in Rhodesia, as Zimbabwe was known under white
rule. After independence in 1980, he continued to serve in the Zimbabwe air
force, where he won fierce loyalty from young pilot recruits, many of them
former guerrillas who fought him in the seven-year bush war that ended white
rule.Soon after, he became President Robert Mugabe's personal pilot. He was
also assigned VIP duties that included ferrying American movie director
Clint Eastwood, his crew and equipment to film locations in remote northern
Zimbabwe for White Hunter, Black Heart, a film on fellow director John
Huston's obsession with hunting and killing an African elephant. At the
time, Eastwood expressed immense respect for Harvey's flying skills and
military and logistical professionalism.

Harvey made it into the Guinness Book of Records for the highest number of
hours flown in the French-built Alouette military helicopter in the now
obsolete Series III model. In 1961, he took part in airborne search and
rescue operations for the missing aircraft of then United Nations
Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold, who died in a plane crash near Ndola in
the neighbouring former British colony of Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia.
Without modern technology, "it was all map, clock and eyeball stuff", Harvey
told biographer Keith Meadows. Later that year, he flew jet fighters with
British expeditionary forces against a rebellion in the Arabian Gulf and
Yemen, his first of many years of combat flying. "As for taking flak, a
pilot is too busy flying his aircraft, getting the particular job of the
moment done, to worry about that. I was lucky, I suppose, I never took a
serious hit," he told Meadows. Harvey, modest and soft-spoken, retired from
the Zimbabwe air force in 2001, but continued as a flight training officer
and consultant to the state Civil Aviation Authority. While in hospital, he
received get-well cards from serving generals and junior air force officers.
Harvey is survived by his wife and a stepson. A military parade and funeral
are planned at the main air base in southern Harare next week.

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MDC-UK district assembly meeting-[23-04-06]

Sent: Thursday, April 06, 2006 4:53 AM

There will be a MDC DISTRICT ASSEMBLY meeting on the
23rd of April 2006,in Manchester.

TIME-12:00HRS -15:00HRS

The District Assembly comprises of :-THE MANAGEMENT






1] Way forwad after the new constitution.

2]Youth  structure nullification issue.

3]Any other business.

Venue Details: 129 PRINCESS RD
               MOSS SIDE
               M14 4TH.

For directions visit or
contact Mr GREEN NYONI on 07949811137 or MR N NGWENYA
on 07956313801.

For further reference visit




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