Editorial Comment: Begging bowl exposes govt 

Source: Editorial Comment: Begging bowl exposes govt – The Standard March 3, 2019

Editorial Comment

After months of propaganda extolling command agriculture as runaway success, the government last week joined hands with the United Nations (UN) and other partners to launch an urgent appeal for US$234 million to feed millions of Zimbabweans facing starvation this year.

According to the UN, a staggering 5,3 million Zimbabweans will need food assistance until June this year following poor harvests last season.

UN under-secretary general for humanitarian affairs and emergency affairs relief coordinator Mark Lowcock said the money would be used “to enable humanitarian agencies to provide time-critical and multi-sectoral assistance — including food, nutrition, water and sanitation and protection — both urban and rural areas.”

That Zimbabwe is facing a serious economic crisis that has seriously compromised the quality of life in both urban and rural areas is no longer debatable.

The country now has to frequently fend off outbreaks of mediaeval diseases such as typhoid and cholera every year.

Last year cholera killed over 100 people in separate outbreaks across the country.

Lack of proper sanitation has reached crisis levels in almost every urban centre in Zimbabwe due to years of neglect of infrastructure by central government.

However, in the past two years or so the government has been pouring millions of dollars into command agriculture ostensibly to end food insecurity.

Economists estimate that up to $3 billion has been given to companies behind command agriculture through debt instruments, which means future generations would have to pay up at some point.

The government has been proclaiming instant success in command agriculture and Agriculture minister Perance Shiri is on record saying the programme was here to stay because government had made its targets of ensuring food security.

However, Lowcock’s visit last week and the subsequent UN appeal showed that Zimbabwe is still struggling to feed its own people and claims that command agriculture has been a success are misleading .

The situation is worsened by the fact that President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government does not appreciate the fact the mass starvation facing a huge part of the population is a result of its poor planning.

For the government, it is business as usual.

This is demonstrated by the top leadership’s love for luxurious travels with recent reports indicating that Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga could have spent as much as US$5 000 000 flying to India for treatment.

It is an embarrassment for a country with so much economic potential to be going around with a begging bowl to other countries to help feed its own citizens.

It is high time the government produced viable agricultural policies that will mitigate against climate change, which has seen a significant reduction in crop yields and stop burdening fiscus with communist programmes such as command agriculture.


  • comment-avatar
    Flick 3 years ago

    And to think that the country had no such problems, any problems for that matter, when it was called RHODESIA !!! What does this tell us about the capabilities of the indigenous population ? It tells us they are totally incapable of organising a party in brewery, useless to mankind and ……. words fail me.

    • comment-avatar
      mazano rewayi 3 years ago

      Dear Flick even whites are indigenous. The issue is the ruling elite. The Germans had their Hitler, the Soviets their Stalin, the Brits their Chamberlain and the Chinese their Mao. To blame a whole group of people because of the excesses of those in power is wrong. Zimbabwe did fairly well till 2000 when blacks and whites worked together before the racist xenophobia set in.

      • comment-avatar
        tony s 3 years ago

        You guys had a war for independence, don’t you think its time you had another, this time for freedom. !!

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    harper 3 years ago

    Last time I flew over Zimbabwe I was surprised to see so many full dams despite the drought. Are the dams full because the irrigation equipment had been sold off by the new owners and then the farms left derelict and unoccupied? A farming enterprise that used to earn US$10 million foreign exchange from tobacco and safari trips has been left derelict because the new owner cannot get a cell phone signal.

  • comment-avatar
    mazano rewayi 3 years ago

    Frankly the estimates are still below requirements. This year there is a drought and very little if any will be harvested in most parts of the country. So we should already be planning for the period July 2019 to April 2020. No one in govt seems to be mentioning this. We do not need to beg for $468m (234×2) but should be working out strategies to produce at least 50% of the required grain by utilizing the water already in our dams.