Chinese farmers take over former white-owned farms in Zimbabwe to cash in on tobacco

Chinese farmers have taken over formerly white-owned farms for the first time, investing millions of pounds into tobacco production.

Source: Chinese farmers take over former white-owned farms in Zimbabwe to cash in on tobacco – The Telegraph

Chinese farmers have taken over formerly white-owned farms for the first time, investing millions of pounds into tobacco production.

Farms that were badly managed for nearly 20 years, after Robert Mugabe’s mass seizure of white-owned land, are now being worked again in the hope of reaping a  potentially huge reward.

At least five farms have attracted Chinese investment in Mashonaland Central, a region to the north-west of Harare, that was traditionally one of the country’s best tobacco-producing areas.

Safe in the knowledge that Mr Mugabe’s policy of strengthening ties with China will offer a degree of protection, they have poured money into machinery and are taking advice from international experts.

China has become the largest investor in Zimbabwe, the economy of which is still reeling from the land seizures of 2000 and hyperinflation, has taken a nosedive once again.

Unemployment is running at about 90 per cent and the regime is so short of money that it cannot pay teachers or civil servants.

The dire economic conditions have prompted rare protests against Mr Mugabe’s regime by a coalition of  opposition parties.

Yesterday, a heavy police presence in Zimbabwe’s capital Harare stopped a planned mass demonstration, as activists claimed police used live ammunition to disperse small protests.

While Zimbabwe’s land reform process has empowered around 60,000 small-scale black tobacco farmers, who grow lower grades of tobacco, many of the bigger farms distributed among Mr Mugabe’s cronies have not fared so well.

Farms just north of Harare lie fallow amid broken fences, fields scorched by fires and scarce livestock. There are few surviving indigenous trees as many were felled by new farmers who could not afford coal to cure their tobacco.

A generation of evicted white farmers have moved abroad or live hand-to-mouth, waiting for promised compensation.

One farm worker in Mvurwi, about 60 miles north of Harare, said there were now plenty of jobs in the district after years of difficulties following the departure of the white landowners. “The Chinese are spending money,” he said.

Experts believe that the five Chinese-run farms will, despite their limited experience, grow and cure about 1,500 acres of tobacco this year. They said the new  infrastructure including equipment manufactured by US company, Valley Irrigation, must have cost at least £7 million.

An insider in the tobacco industry said the Chinese company would be paying a hefty rental for the land they are now using to the “political” men who now own the farms.

“The Chinese will pay a percentage of the income from the tobacco as rent,” he said. “Some of that rental should be shared with the white farmers who left their homes with nothing and received no compensation from the  government, but they probably don’t know their old farms are now about to start making money again.”


  • comment-avatar
    ntaba 6 years ago

    It is most encouraging to see that Zanu have deprived their own citizens of their fundamental rights to create
    Little China in Zimbabwe. I suppose that the best we can hope for is to see a little Russia from Putin in Zimbabwe as well? A leopard never changes its spots.

    • comment-avatar
      Fallenz 6 years ago

      Yes, China and Russia will both be welcomed, as long as the Army and other ZANU-PF mafiaso can maintain their place and get their cut… none of whom care a whit about the nation. The names “ZANU-PF” and “Mugabe” will take their place in history books among the worst destroyers and greatest criminals-against-humanity ever… right along side Hitler, Stalin, Amin, Mussolini, Mao, Pol-pot, et al.

      EU, man-up and renew the restrictions… or wimp-out and bury your heads back in the sands of Tsholotsho. What’s it gonna be..???

      America and UK, when are you going to apply real pressure to reverse the damage you orchestrated that allowed all this to happen. .???

    • comment-avatar
      mark longhurst 6 years ago

      yup wait till these racist little buggers are your bosses on the farms…look what happened in chiadzwa…beating people up etc….things are still in reverse in Zim and the peeps know it, doen with zanu thieves

  • comment-avatar
    Doris 6 years ago

    Didn’t we always say that the Chinese will be the new settlers of Zimbabwe? This is just the beginning and, Fallenz, you are so right- Zanupf doesn’t give a damn about the country or its people.

  • comment-avatar

    That revolting unrepentant racist mugabarge apparently only hates the whites enough to dispossess the of their land, rights, etc… The zhings are ok it seems??? They know how to do biz in Africa and will send all the profits back home without re-investing one cent. Guaranteed nobody but Zpf cronies will benefit.

  • comment-avatar

    So the truth is out once again. The so called land reform exercise has been so successful one has to now get a foreigner to plough/ till the land to try and put food in the pot and more pennies in back pockets.
    I like the words – departure of the white land owners! Wait until the locals get a taste of their new bosses.
    Another screw up is looming. You need expertise not paper ideas!

  • comment-avatar
    machakachaka 6 years ago

    But the Chinese are notorious employers. Is the Ministry of Labour going to make sure our citizens are protected against abuse by these Chinese. I have a cousine who works for a Chinese-owned company in Msasa, Harare. From what he is going through at that company, I wouldn’t want to work for a Chinese employer.

  • comment-avatar

    The chinese are the most evil race on the earth. I hope zanu gets what they deserve. Always remember the chinese help no one bur them selves.