via Minister Made misleading the nation – NewsDay Zimbabwe October 12, 2015
ZIMBABWE is now fully in the throes of the lean agriculture season, a time when most households would have run out of grain from the previous farming season, and it is incumbent that the government works fast to avert looming starvation.
The government has once again sent around the begging bowl, yet only a few months ago, Agriculture minister Joseph Made said there would be no need for food aid.
Made’s previous statement on the successes of farming seasons have all been way off the mark and it boggles the mind why President Robert Mugabe keeps him despite such bungling.
Importantly though, this year marks 15 years after the land reform programme, yet the “new” farmers still cannot feed the nation.
Zimbabwe cannot continue begging for food aid from the very people that were kicked off the farms and this betrays the essence of the land reform, it was haphazard, vindictive and unplanned, leading to the current problems we face.
No one doubts the need for the land reform programme, but it would have been more beneficial if the government conducted it in a more structured manner, where people with the capacity should have been first in line to receive farms, rather than getting land via a system that entrenches patronage and negates productivity.
The United States and the United Kingdom last week provided money for food aid and rather than be the gracious recipients, Mugabe and his government must be ashamed that they are receiving help from the very people they accuse of trying to unseat them.
That Zimbabwe is even begging for food aid should also serve as more embarrassment, as government officials are ever too eager to remind the public of what they describe as the success of the land reform programme.
This year, officials were quick to blame food shortages on droughts, but if the government was any sincere, they would know the blame lies squarely with them.
While acknowledging the effects of the drought, Zimbabweans should demand answers on what happened with irrigation equipment that was on the farms the new farmers invaded.
Also, knowing the cyclical nature of droughts, the government should have been able to plan for such an eventuality.
Instead of serving us with copious doses of propaganda, the government should have been proactive in handling the food situation, rather than relying on donors again.
It is disconcerting to learn that Zimbabwe will be renting out some of its silos to Zambia, a clear indication that the once spilling granaries are empty and will not be filled anytime soon.
The Zanu PF government has once again displayed an astounding lack of forward thinking and vision, leaving Zimbabweans on the verge of starvation and at the mercy of donors, who Mugabe wants us to believe are the country’s enemies.
We urge the government to already start thinking about the 2016/17 agriculture season and beyond, as this is the only way they can guarantee food security rather than this knee-jerk response, where they only respond after failure.
Zimbabweans deserve a pro-active government rather than a reactive one.