Made killing agriculture’


Augustine Mukaro

COMMERCIAL farmers have blasted Agriculture minister Joseph Made accusing him of fuelling the chaos prevailing in the agricultural sector.



face=”Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>Speaking at the Commercial Farmers Union’s 60th annual congress at Art Farm on Wednesday, CFU vice-president Doug Taylor-Freeme said: “Made is responsible for the destruction of agriculture in the country and must be made accountable.


“We have rampant foot-and-mouth throughout the country. He was warned this would happen, and now the cattle industry is in deep trouble, huge resources of forex are needed to control the situation and this finance could have been better utilised to implement the land reform programme more effectively and with some degree of success.”


Taylor-Freeme said CFU members had an excellent track record of grain production but vital infrastructure was sitting idle.


“We have massive food imports yet there is agricultural infrastructure sitting idle such as irrigation schemes, tobacco facilities, greenhouses. Crops are being abandoned or stolen, pedigree herds are being slaughtered, and farmers being evicted when silos are sitting empty,” he said.


He said Zimbabwean farmers were under threat of becoming irrelevant in the region as their traditional markets were being taken over by other countries.


“Commercial agriculture should be expanding, not shrinking as is happening,” he said.


“Looking at the region, Zambia is about to export 120 000 tonnes of grain to what traditionally was our market. Seed maize is being grown in neighbouring countries when it should be produced here and exported,” he said.


The agricultural sector has been in free-fall over the past three years as government implemented its arbitrary and chaotic land reform programme.

The programme has brought the formerly vibrant commercial agricultural sector to the edge of ruin as manifested through acute food and forex shortages.


Production in general has tumbled by over 70% over the past three seasons with areas planted being drastically reduced.


“In tonnage terms, commercial farmers, excluding A2 farmers, this year are expected to produce 80 000 tonnes of maize (10% of normal), 35 000 tonnes of soyabeans (22% of normal), and 15 000 tonnes of wheat (5% of normal),” Taylor-Freeme said.


The reductions are likely to be exacerbated by the shortages of fertiliser and other inputs.

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