CFU calls for joint effort to restore agriculture

via CFU calls for joint effort to restore agriculture | The Zimbabwean 30.10.13 by Nelson Sibanda

Poor planning has already affected the next agricultural season as many farmers still do not have seed, fertiliser, chemicals and other inputs says the President of the Commercial Farmers Union, Charles Taffs.

Traditionally, farmers put their maize seed into the ground by mid-November, with December 15 as the cut-off date. So far, all indications are that such deadlines could be missed.

“Let us work together with government and other interested parties to solve problems affecting farming. The state needs to work with agriculture unions to turn the sector into a viable enterprise and revive an industry that was once the mainstay of our economy,” Taffs told The Zimbabwean. Essential components such as power supply, a good road infrastructure, availability of inputs and bold political decision-making were necessary for the success of the sector, he explained. Any disturbance in one of these components would have ripple effects on the entire industry.

Government was urged to adopt a holistic approach when dealing with problems affecting farming, and not to treat them as isolated issues.

Taffs said high costs of production and the crumbling agriculture infrastructure should be addressed by stakeholders as a matter of urgency. “One of the solutions for the sector would be to adopt a good positive business ethos. No one should put short-term political interests ahead of long term national economic gains,” he said.

Access to land should be based on economic fundamentals to ensure that land usage was maximised for national benefit, he added. With proper planning and a diversified farming sector, Zimbabwe could realise huge opportunities, particularly in the manufacturing sector. “This can provide the country with basic food requirements while attending to local and export demands. We urge government to provide a conducive environment in which bankers and investors will feel confident enough to aggressively fund the agricultural sector in its entirety,” said Taffs.

Zimbabwe, once the regional food security coordinator for southern Africa, has sunk to the bottom of the basket following the destruction of commercial and organised agriculture more than a decade ago through a chaotic and corrupt land reform programme.

Since then food shortages have plagued the nation, forcing an abnormally large part of its 12 million people to depend on Western food hand-outs. The World Food Programme estimates that 2,2 million Zimbabweans will be hard hit in the next few weeks and require external support to survive.



  • comment-avatar
    William Doctor 9 years ago

    I don’t understand why western governments provide food aid. The warvets should feed themselves, bunch of racist morons – and if they can’t then too bad. Or at least the Zim Govt should be forced to compensate the former farmers before any aid is provided.

    • comment-avatar
      mucha 9 years ago

      Maybe Doctor is just your name and not profession. You have no facts, better shut up.

      • comment-avatar
        Jrr56 9 years ago

        That’s Mucha about nothing. Food aid is a curse, better let the people get hungry and revolt against their tyrant.

  • comment-avatar
    Washumba 9 years ago

    Hanzi dzimwe mbeu dzakadonhera munzira dzimwe paruware dzimwe pavhu rakakorera dzimwe muminzwa. Tinoda kuona kuti hurumende yedu ivhu rakaita sei pa this well written script.

  • comment-avatar
    Tjingababili 9 years ago


  • comment-avatar
    machakachaka 9 years ago

    Taffs uri mukadzi akarambwa, nyarara.

  • comment-avatar
    ntaba 9 years ago

    The CFU needs to remember that it is going back to its instincts of 12 years ago – of being busy singing the praises of Zanu and the land reform programme whilst its members and their staff were being beaten, raped, tortured, murdered and their property looted or stolen by the Zanu chefs under instruction from Mugabe and Zanu. In Mugabe’s case – they took Foyle Farm belonging to the Webster family. CFU happily said “we are working with the Govt.” Thus the CFU is complicit by admission of its own self destruction, agriculture and conservation, the banking system, and the macro economy of the country – plus a 4 million emigration? Would the CFU do the same with Gadaffi or the Syrian President, or Mengestu? – trust them. Perhaps – they appear to be high class high value top of the range, low moral prostitutes! What have Zanu done with Coltart and Tsvangirayi? Does the CFU sincerely believe that prostitution is the gate way to deep and meaningful relationships with Zanu? Does the CFU think that they will be treated any differently from Sithole, Chikerema, Muzorewa, Nkomo, Mujuru, Tongagara, Gezi, Manyika, Mahachi, Ushewokunze, Tsvangirayi or Coltart? Why might the CFU think that “they the very ones?” Does the CFU suffer from memory loss or have they been up at Binga smoking funny things? Will the Zanu leopard change its spot? We need to try that stuff that the CFU smokes – it must be “the very Best of Binga!”

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    Mike Rook 8 years ago

    The Truth behind the forced closure of Zimbabwe’s ‘The Farmer’ magazine

    Early 2002 Zimbabwe’s ‘The Farmer’ magazine that first appeared in 1942 as ‘Vuka’ (the organ of the Matabeleland Farmers’ Union) suddenly disappeared.
    The official statement issued at the time by the Commercial Farmers’ Union (CFU) was ‘financial constraints’. The incumbent Director of the Union at that time was David Hasluck. I have been asked on numerous occasions to reveal the true story behind its forced shut down. Large scale commercial farmers in general and Commercial Farmers Union members in particular continue to query why they were not consulted or even informed of the arbitrary shut down of their only means of communication?
    It was a matter of fact that the CFU licence fee was structured to include receipt of ‘The Farmer.’ It would therefore have been courteous and correct for CFU administration at that time to have facilitated open discussion and debate amongst its members before closure of the magazine, allowing an opportunity to mount a concerted rescue operation. The opposite occurred!
    The lame excuse given by the Union and Board of Trustees for the weekly magazine’s demise was lack of viability. Due to the advent of Zimbabwe’s farm invasions ‘The Farmer’ was no longer the Union’s ‘cash cow’.
    Despite the Union’s Director trying desperately to stop the accessing of its members’ email addresses a sympathetic Head Office staff member surreptitiously supplied them anyway, and a survey was conducted. The resulting feedback showed that the vast majority of CFU members not only agreed to pay for the magazine, but insisted it continue publishing.
    A business plan with an accompanying income expenditure analyses showing a reasonable financial surplus was presented to CFU and the magazine’s Board of Trustees. The business plan was never even considered. It was summarily dismissed and shelved, and conveniently ignored by the Union and The Board of Trustees.
    So why such perverse skulduggery? Why was ‘The Farmer’ with its proud history of serving Zimbabwe’s large scale farming community for over half a century (through wars pestilence and droughts) silenced? The simple answer is that neither the Union or the magazine’s Board of Trustees were able to influence editorial content or compromise its independence. Being too timid to sack the editor it was decided to remove the publication instead.
    To add insult to injury the manner of the closure itself was a shameful example of duplicity and Machiavellian conspiracy between CFU and the Board of Trustees. To avoid legal obligations of severance pay due to the enforced redundancies of loyal and long serving staff: CFU and The Board of Trustees connived together to present the Trust as the employer, not CFU. As the Trust had no reserves of capital this meant staff, some with over thirty years on the magazine, would leave with nothing. A letter I received from CFU’s own lawyers clearly stated the employer as CFU. The CFU and Board of Trustees were forced to back down and the issue was forcefully redressed, albeit harshly with some malevolence and under duress. ‘The Farmer’ was sacrificed on the altar of expediency by those in trusted positions, that were expected and required to display and implement the highest standards of morals, integrity and fortitude.
    Alas! The realisation that it is easier to tear down than to build up came too late to save ‘The Farmer.’
    Subsequent CFU administrations on two occasions tried unsuccessfully to launch replacement magazines. The publication AgriZim was launched and managed to publish for awhile before disappearing, and afterwards a second attempt at a magazine with European Union funding never even saw the light of day.
    As far as I am aware Zimbabwe’s present CFU administration disassociates itself from the above described decisions and actions of its predecessors made back in 2002.