Made: A cat with nine lives?

via Made: A cat with nine lives | The Financial Gazette by Staff Reporter 12 Sep 2013

AGRICULTURE, once the backbone of Zimbabwe’s economy and Africa’s bread-basket is now a pale shadow of its former self, forcing the country to extend its begging bowl to its neighbours.

The ironic reality is hard to comprehend.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, headed by Joseph Made for the past 13 years was once responsible for Zimbabwe being described as the “jewel” of Africa, with rich productive farmland, producing enough to feed everyone and export the rest not only in Africa but as far as Europe.

The agricultural sector supplied about 60 percent of the inputs to the manufacturing industry, contributing to high Gross Domestic Product growth rates and employing millions of people.

The recent report by the United Nations World Food Programme indicating that over 2,2 million people in Zimbabwe needed food assistance over the next six months because the food situation has deteriorated and can be described as the worst since 2009, is probably the worst indicator as to what lies ahead for the new government.

If this reality cannot persuade the new government to adopt extraordinary measures to revive food production, then nothing else will.

Maize production has declined from over two million tonnes in 2000 to about 800 000 tonnes, while wheat production has deteriorated to a non-existent state. Cotton production, the backbone of rural development, declined to 145 000 this year. However, the tobacco sector has been recording growth since 2009 with an expected output of about 167 million kilogrammes.

With this recovery in tobacco, there have been calls from stakeholders to revive the whole industry from food production, horticulture and livestock, with the most recent call from the President Robert Mugabe to ensure food security and bring to an end the perennial food imports.

In his inauguration speech, President Mugabe promised to revive the farming sector. To spearhead that revival, Made was on Tuesday appointed once again as Agriculture Minister, despite being part of the 2005 “War Cabinet” described by President Mugabe in 2009 as the worst Cabinet in his reign.

Made will be assisted by two deputies Paddy Zhanda responsible for the livestock sector and Davis Marapira, cropping, mechanisation and irrigation development.

Made faces the mammoth task of reviving the same sector he has been accused of practically destroying when he was part of the team that spearheaded the chaotic land reform programme which also played a major role in bringing agriculture to its knees.

Analyst, Rashweat Mukundu, expressed no confidence in the appointment of Made as the Minister responsible for agriculture.

“Joseph Made presided over the collapse of Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector with his well documented blunders that included, among many, failure to rein in corruption at the Grain Marketing Board, which resulted in the corrupt selling of inputs meant for farmers as well as outright failure to ensure food security since 2000.

“I do not see what else the Minister will bring to this sector other than the same lack of efficiency and lethargy. Zimbabwe’s agricultural Ministries need action oriented, strategic thinkers who deliver not clueless individuals,” Mukundu said.

Despite driving the Agricultural Rural Development Authority into bankruptcy, Made has survived as Agriculture Minister and under his watch the sector has failed to ensure food security. Infrastructure has collapsed, irrigation, greenhouses, dams are all non-existent and Made and his team are required to move the sector to the next level.

According to political analyst, Ricky Mukonza, the re-appointment of Made does not inspire confidence in the recovery of the agriculture sector because the sector has not been performing well under his stewardship in previous years.

“This will go down as a lost opportunity for the ZANU-PF government to inject new leadership and new ideas into the Ministry. It can, however, be argued that what has been happening with the agriculture sector is not entirely a consequence of the actions or inactions of the minister of that portfolio but rather a reflection of the general policy direction chosen by the government of the day.

“In that case, it will be unfair to judge Made on the basis of the Ministry’s past performance, while the appointment of two deputies is perhaps meant to demonstrate the seriousness with which the government is likely to treat this sector,” Mukonza said.

He added that the revival of the agricultural  sector would require all stakeholders such as farmers, seed and fertiliser manufacturers and equipment manufacturers to pull in the same direction.

Economic analyst, Eric Bloch, urged Made to re-look at the agricultural policies that have contributed heavily to the collapse of production.

The major task ahead for Made, according to Bloch, is ensuring that farmers are able to access funding from local banks to finance their agricultural enterprises.

“The Minister should look at issues such as  speeding up the processes of the 99-year lease to allow farmers to use these leases to access funding from banks in line with the new Constitution which has provided for the leases to be accorded negotiability and transferability,” Bloch said.

The majority of new farmers have only received offer letters and not comprehensive leases, negatively affecting their performance.

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 9
  • comment-avatar
    Zeezee 7 years ago

    Looks like Zim is going to have to continue importing maize from Zambia that is being grown by Ex-Zim white farmers….. ha ha ha

    • comment-avatar

      I can remember when some baboons got into an electricity substation and it blew up. Made blamed the demise of food production on these monkeys…..

      • comment-avatar
        Sad Zimbo 7 years ago

        Well he was partly right. It was the fault of the baboons running the country.

  • comment-avatar
    Collin Mackenzie 7 years ago

    Oh my God please stop telling us the past tell us the facts all this about bread basket is rubbish, what does it really have to do with your headline posts

    • comment-avatar
      Sad Zimbo 7 years ago

      @Collin – if you can’t recognise the link between the collapse of the agricultural sector and the minister of agriculture then you should stop reading this site. It’s for grown-ups, not children who can’t understand basic economics.

  • comment-avatar
    Doris 7 years ago

    99 year leases? So tell me, Eric Bloch – what about the Title Deeds for this property? Are they now made nul and void? Throughout the world, Title Deeds are sacrosanct. What makes it different in Zimbabwe?

    • comment-avatar
      Shame 7 years ago

      @Doris
      ‘Throughout the world, Title Deeds are sacrosanct. What makes it different in Zimbabwe?’
      Becoz Zimbabwe does not need them, it prefers 99 year leases. Thats why. And in any case, who said Zimbabwe should be told what to do by the ‘world’ as you say? By ‘world’ are you sure you are not refering to the imperialists and their colonial states which continue to be milked by the Imperialists? If yes, then tsek!

      • comment-avatar
        Sad Zimbo 7 years ago

        @Shame

        Wake up fool, Title Deeds allow a person to retain ownership of land in almost every country in the world. Why is it whenever someone compares the current mess in Zim to other countries it’s about “imperialists and colonial states”?

  • comment-avatar
    Chiwaridzo 7 years ago

    The facts are … Colin, is that since the land invasions of 2000,where ZanuPF stole land from productive white Zimbabwean farmers and turned it over to ZanuPF supporters, the agricultural sector has collapsed. Before the land invasions Zimbabwe exported maize, wheat, soya bean, tobacco, flowers, vegetables, fruit , pork products and beef. The agricultural sector employed 1,5 million people which meant that a total of 7 million people depended on this industry.Now Zimbabwe imports, flour, oil, fruit and most importantly millions of tons of maize, relies on donors to feed no less than 2 million people and 90 % of the land stolen in 2000 is currentl under utilized and being destroyed daily. The very donors that assist Zimbabwe are the countries that circus leader Mugabe continues to verbally abuse over the pathetic sanctions issue, but fails to acknowledge the humanitarian crises that is avoided by these countries continually supplying food, medicine and education assistance… It’s an embarrassment you idiot, but because you are just another blind supporter of this moron leading our country you are the one that fails to acknowledge the facts…. I haven’t even touched on unemployment running at 96% … So next time you comment on this page, come up with facts to dispute what has been outlined above.