Proof of maize harvest will be in the sadza

ZTV’s main news bulletin on May 12 had as its “top story” the announcement by Zimbabwe’s Minister of Agriculture Joseph Made that 2,4 million tonnes of maize would be produced this season (2003-2004).



Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>The presidents of the Zimbabwe Farmers Union and Indigenous Commercial Farmers Union both proclaimed their delight at the overwhelming success of the land reform programme and confidently stated that there would be no need for any grain imports this year.


And in the finest traditions of ZTV’s brand of impartial news presentation and analysis an “economist”, Richard Chitumba, was brought in to explain how this wonderful harvest would beneficially impact on Zimbabwe’s agro-based economy.


All Zimbabweans will undoubtedly wish to congratulate everyone concerned with the successful implementation of the land reform programme, not least our dynamic Minister of Agriculture Dr Joseph Made.

However, I am just a little bit confused. International news reports on May 10 indicated that the Zimbabwean government had ordered a United Nations crop assessment team to leave the country only days after they had begun their work of assessing the annual food harvest.


And “an impending famine” was how Zimbabwe’s food situation was described by the German-based Friedrich Ebert Foundation which conducted an extensive crop survey in March.


It is, of course, perfectly obvious that any Western foundation would seek to deny the success of the land reform programme. But it is a sad day indeed when the UN’s World Food Programme and its Food and Agriculture Organisation are hijacked to serve the interests of Western imperialist propaganda.


Understandably, Western news reports suggest that the cancellation of the UN’s crop assessment was because “President Robert Mugabe’s government did not want the UN team to gather figures showing that harvests would fall far short of the country’s food requirements”.


What malicious propaganda! To paraphrase that well-known, but unfortunately Western saying: “The proof of the pudding is in the eating”, Zimbabweans’ proof of the maize harvest will be in the sadza.



R Scott,

Harare.