Land reform hits dairy/beef exports

Augustine Mukaro

ZIMBABWE’S unplanned land reform programme has severely cut agricultural activities and reduced dairy and beef exports, a United Nations agencies report says. It also shows government figure

s for the number of people resettled are at variance with those estimated by land experts.



According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation/World Food Programme’s latest Global Information and Early Warning System report dated June 19, land reform activities have extensively disrupted farming.


“Farming activities have been severely disrupted as many resettled farmers lack access to capital and other inputs or need time to settle down,” the FAO/WFP report said. “This has contributed to the catastrophic decline in the national dairy export beef herds and a record low cereal production this year.”


The report said production of maize that has been estimated at around 800 000 tonnes, 46% lower than the 2000/1 production, would leave over 5 million people in need of food handouts.


“The major cause of the much lower than normal production of cereals this year includes erratic rainfall and limited availability of seed and fertiliser. The new farmers failed to utilise all the land due to lack of adequate capital and inputs or collateral to secure them,” the report said


The commercial farming sector now produces only 10% of its 1990s output, it said.


The FAO/WFP report said government would need to import an estimated 1,2 million tonnes of maize.


“Given the acute shortage of forex, government is unlikely to import more than 370 000 tonnes and the rest would be met by the emergency food aid,” the report said.


Other than maize, government is also expected to import an estimated 298 000 of wheat if looming bread shortages are to be averted.


The report said there was also a severe shortage of maize seed in the country which if not addressed would limit plantings in the coming season.

“Appropriate varieties of maize and also small grain seeds need to be sourced immediately for delivery in September,” it said.


The report said 205 823 people have been allocated land under the A1 model while 28 665 benefited under the A2 model. The figures contrast with official claims of 300 000 families resettled under the A1 scheme and more than 50 000 under the A2 model.