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Govt figures misleading

Godfrey Marawanyika

GOVERNMENT has been criticised for failing to provide accurate statistical requirements on food assessment which led to massive food shortages in 2001.

face=”Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>A report, sponsored by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation on post-Independence land reform in Zimbabwe titled “Controversies and Impact on the Economy” by Medicine Masiiwa, says government in 2001 misled the nation on food stocks and that this should not happen again.

“Ministerial competence and government accountability must be highly upheld if food security and rural empowerment are to be realised in Zimbabwe. In other words, senior government officials must always send true messages regarding land, agricultural and food security matters to prevent the country from being caught off guard on the basis of unreliable information like what happened in the year 2001,” the report said.

The report, jointly published by the foundation and the Institute of Development Studies, was released this week.

Agricultural minister Joseph Made in 2001 made an aerial assessment of production levels and claimed the country had enough food stocks to feed itself. This proved a disaster when Zimbabwe had to survive on food handouts from the international community.

The launch of the report this week comes at a time when government has again claimed that there will be no need for food assistance because new farmers will produce 2,4 million tonnes of maize this cropping season.

The report said that although there was a clear need for land reallocation as demonstrated by the Svosve people’s invasions in 1999, government’s method of land transfer was cause for concern.

“Firstly, government was rather lethargic in its land policy implementations during the first 10 years of Independence. Poor achievements of set targets can only be attributable to lack of political will from government because unlike now, government received reasonable international support for the land reform programme,” the report said.

“The latter phase of the land redistribution, particularly the fast track resettlement, caused significant damage to the economy because it was unplanned and was characterised by excessive violence and general lawlessness.”

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