White farmers in Zimbabwe, under the ambit of the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU), have expressed interest in working with the Government and contributing towards the success of the country’s agricultural sector.
Since the turn of the new millennium, the predominantly white member union has been hostile to Government in what observers have said was in sympathy with their colleagues whose land was redistributed to black locals.
The two parties have said they are willing to bury the hatchet and work together.
This marks yet another milestone for President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration.
CFU President Mr Peter Van Zyl said the white farmers are ready to work with Government in the Second Republic.
“We want to be part of the new Zimbabwe and we want to assist in a process that creates space for all who want to be involved in agriculture and that simultaneously sees all resettled farmers transitioning from being dependent on the State, to being the pillars of the country’s recovery through a transfer of skills.”
Addressing farmers at the 75th CFU Annual Congress in Harare last week, Lands, Agriculture, Rural Resettlement, Water and Climate Minister Perrance Shiri extended an olive branch to the white farmers.
He also emphasised that the land reform is an irreversible exercise.
In a speech read on his behalf by director for farmer training, Mr Moffat Nyamangara, Minister Shiri said Government would correct past injustices made under the land reform programme.
“On the challenges which the farmer community faces, there is one which is a matter of particular anxiety to many of your members — the land reform,” said the minister.
“Our Government is firmly committed to a process of the need for corrective measures to deal with the consequences of past injustices.
“But it is equally important that new injustices are not created or production capacity disrupted. Our policy acknowledges the property rights of existing land owners.
“It also recognises the legitimate demand for justice from those who have been dispossessed or excluded. In addressing these matters, organised agriculture should seek to be part of the process of change, with the aim of sharing in the creation of a more just dispensation.
“Such partnerships should bring restructuring of the agriculture industry, improved productivity, an opening of farming opportunities for those who have been hitherto excluded and measures to correct past injustices.
“It should include cooperation in working out measures that will lead to farmers enjoying the same rights and security as workers in our industries.
“I give you the assurance that the Government regards a healthy agricultural sector as indispensable for the continued welfare of Zimbabwe.
“We will continue to recognise the CFU as a critical player in this regard. Therefore, I give you the firm assurance that in dealing with the questions posed earlier on, the Government will ensure that your Union is fully consulted.”
Mr Zyl applauded Government for spearheading increased production in the agricultural sector.
He said the CFU is confident that Government will fulfil its pledge to compensate the white farmers in line with the country’s laws.