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Gono attacks ‘A5 farmers’

Goodfrey Marawanyika

RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono this week gingerly stepped into a political minefield when he made a veiled attack on people who invade farms and vandalise projects that ea

rn the country foreign currency.

Announcing his monetary policy in Harare on Tuesday, Gono said there was now a new breed of farmers who were not in the A1 or A2 framework.

“We now have a new set of farmers who want to reap where they did not sow. These farmers, we have decided to call them A5 farmers,” he said.

“When we take over a farm and destroy greenhouses, we are destroying our source of foreign currency,” said Gono.

This was apparently in reference to the government’s land reform in which war veterans and other Zanu PF supporters have invaded horticultural projects and those enjoying Export Processing Zone status.

“Achievement of sustainable agricultural productivity requires that, at the national level, comprehensive marketing arrangements be put in place, adequately protecting the interests of farmers, buyers of produce and the end users – our communities in general.”

Last month, the International Monetary Fund gave Zimbabwe a six-month reprieve to make meaningful efforts to settle its debts. It raised concerns on issues pertaining to property and governance.

In May Gono also lashed out at those who violate property laws. He said successful recovery of the agricultural sector should be supported by marketing arrangements that would ward off problems experienced in contract growing schemes.

“Under such circumstances, ‘fly-by-harvest-time’ traders have cropped up, offering prices that are out of tune with overhead structures, effectively destabilising the production and marketing chain,” he reitereated on Tuesday.

“Those same traders, in most cases, would not have supported the farmers to begin with, only pitching up mid-stream in the agricultural season to reap what they have not sown.”

Gono said the envisaged improvement in the foreign exchange situation, the decline in inflation coupled with the avoidance of policy reversals, would assist in rebuilding the image of the country.

“As monetary authorities, we want to register our immense appreciation to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank for their continued support in our turnaround programme,” he said.

“The six-month window of opportunity the country has been given to consolidate its turnaround programme will be fully utilised to further align the policy framework with the vision of balanced and sustained economic growth,” he said.

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