Zimbabwe government abandons communal farmers

via Government abandons communal farmers | SW Radio Africa  by Mthulisi Mathuthu on Monday, March 31, 2014

In a move that is likely to anger villagers the government has with immediate effect scrapped the free agricultural inputs handouts that were being issued to poor communal farmers, a minister has said.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Davis Marapira, told journalists in rural Masvingo last week that government will no longer be issuing free fertilizer and seed to the rural farmers. Marapira said this was done as a way to ‘end the dependency syndrome’ in the country. He added that government had realised that it was better to subsidise inputs for manufacturing companies than to issue free handouts to communal farmers.

The move comes at a time when the economy is on the decline and with rural folk struggling to provide for themselves. According to the UN at least 2.2 million people are in need of food aid, the majority being in rural areas.

At the same time the government owned Agricultural Development Bank of Zimbabwe reported that it had posted a $ 9.2 million loss for the year ended December 2013. CEO Sam Malaba said only privatization could save the bank.

Godfrey Mtimba, who was amongst the journalists addressed by Marapira last Thursday, told SW Radio Africa that the government decision is likely to anger the villagers. He said: ‘The people are in genuine need and I am sure they will be both shocked and angered by this.’ Mtimba said the scribes were equally taken aback and bombarded the minister with questions asking where the government expected the villagers to get the money to buy inputs for themselves.

The government has been assisting farmers with inputs since 2000. Last year it introduced the $161 million input scheme with the aim of assisting poor communal farmers who could not afford the cost of inputs. The scheme has always been marred in controversy with reports of partisan distribution of inputs. President Mugabe also operates a similar but personal scheme. That scheme has not been spared controversy either.

The communal farmers are not the first to be abandoned as government announced last month that it was stopping assistance for the A2 farmers. Agriculture minister Joseph Made, told Parliament that the A2 farmers should not look forward to any assistance from government this year and should go and ‘kneel down’ in front of the banks.

The A2 farmers are larger scale farmers who were awarded the land seized from white commercial farmers under the land grab exercise. Despite the support given to the farmers crop production has remained low with most of the donated inputs reportedly abused, resold on the black market or exported to regional countries.



  • comment-avatar

    But, Mugabe swore that no one would go hungry! Was he lying?

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    Insider 10 years ago

    MUGABE lie!! Surely not!! Thinking about it, has he ever told the truth?

  • comment-avatar

    Subsidising inputs to manufacturing companies? What manufacturing companies? There are none left. So government can save its non-existent cash!

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    Mike Nyathi 10 years ago

    Now the people in the rural areas are crying because they are abandoned by the government. For too long these people have been protected from the worst consequences of an evil regime. The west feeds them and govt throws inputs at them. It is better that they experience some of the consequences of putting up with a fascist party. They like all zimbabweans must learn that you get the govt you deserve. Do something about it people. For yourselves and your children.

  • comment-avatar
    Don Cox 10 years ago

    ” the consequences of putting up with a fascist party”

    ZanuPF is Marxist, not Fascist. Admittedly the two are not all that different.

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    I remember a reporter saying some years back into the mid 2000’s that he wondered how far us Zimbabweans must go down to realise that we are being misgoverned

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    Fallenz 10 years ago

    The ag inputs were politicized, anyway… only ZANUPF card-holders were subsidized. Now, they will suffer along with the rest, and the chefs who had villagers frog-marched to the polls have answering to do. The chefs didn’t get their promises after delivering the votes, so will they sellout again.

    In such mysterious ways freedom will be delivered.