HomeOpinionFarmers hopeless as El Nino drought beckons

Farmers hopeless as El Nino drought beckons

Summer is threatening to descend upon us with all the ferocity of a tropical oven.

MuckRacker

But there is something different now. Where once commercial farmers weighed in to support their colleagues in the communal sector, there is nobody left to help now.

El Nino is preparing its onslaught on an inexperienced sector that frankly is unprepared for what could be a devastating fate. And what is left of commercial agriculture is exhausted after the depredations of the past 10 years.

Also under siege is a complex ecosystem that once welded farmers together with water systems that are no longer operative.

Ill-prepared
Conservation measures are few and far between. In many areas there are none at all, no back-ups, nothing. And these are in many cases, farms that have benefitted from government hand-outs such as tractors.

Their owners are not really farmers, they are weekend visitors. If the current investigations are meaningful they should uncover an Augean stable of graft which includes some of the highest in the land. But will it?

The World Food Programme says food insecurity in Zimbabwe has increased by 164% on last year’s position.

“Although Zimbabwe has some 4,3 million hectares of arable land, only 2,8 million ha were cultivated during the 2014/15 cropping season due to high fuel costs and climatic shocks to name but a few,” the WFP said.

“In Zimbabwe where drought is the most common threat to agriculture production, only 7,6% of farmers practise conservation agriculture.”

So it looks likely El Nino will impinge on ordinary production but compounded by reduced rainfall, a potentially disastrous combination. Zanu PF will look for somebody to blame. But this time round there is nobody left.

War veterans were complaining recently about the conditions they encounter. They forget the farm invasions, the violence many farmers had to experience and the deteriorating environment for farmers.

The Met office has warned of a late start to the rainy season. The Herald calls it a “tricky” rainfall season ahead.

Patronised
Coming to the rescue is Nigerian mining magnate Aliko Dangote who will no doubt be cited as the country’s salvation.

It might be prudent to wait and see what miracles he can perform before we acknowledge his skills.

He has already found himself patronised by Zanu PF, something that should be avoided by all shrewd business people.
If he is not careful, he will soon find himself tied up in Zanu PF’s dubious schemes such as their 10-point plan. But he is unlikely to put all his eggs in one basket.

He didn’t get rich by being stupid!

Diversion
People First’s manifesto launched on Tuesday is at least interesting. On paper it gives hope to dejected masses that for so long have been clamouring for regime change but to no avail.

Zimbabweans have always wanted an alternative to President Robert Mugabe’s dictatorship and former vice-president Joice Mujuru will without doubt command a huge following of supporters.

A reading of the party’s Blueprint to Unlock Investment and Leverage For Development (Build) shows Mujuru and her allies have done everything to oppose the monster they once created while they were still part of the ruling party.

Shockingly, it indicates they know what is good for the country yet they went on to ruin that which was economically and politically right for the sake of their political survival. Among a host of proposals in the manifesto is People First’s need to support a free press, repeal Aippa and Posa and say no to political violence.
That would be a wonderful step towards democratisation of the media, while the call for political tolerance makes a sound reading too. But does it have to end there?

Circus?
After the blueprint, aren’t we going to witness another circus in which political parties are formed and end up splitting just the same way the MDC did in 2005 and after the 2013 elections?

Zimbabwe witnessed the formation of ZUM in 1989 led by Edgar Tekere, the emergence of MDC in 1999, and now People First, among a plethora of other political organisations and activists, but Zanu PF has managed to survive the political tide to continue instilling pain in disgruntled citizens. ZUM died a natural death while MDC has been rocked by factional fights, resulting in so many offshoots deviating from the mother party to pursue different interests. Today there is MDC-T, MDC-N, MDC Renewal Team and other MDCs not worth mentioning for their lack of relevance. Can Zanu PF — detest by the majority — finally succumb to pressure since its being challenged by those who were part of its rigging tactics? Are they promising to cripple Nikuv in 2018?

In any case, do Zimbabweans still find solace in the formation of political parties who always promise glitter in darkness?

Power dynamics
If People First goes into an election without forging coalition, won’t it again split votes to the benefit of Zanu PF? Is it not about power dynamics?

MDCs can’t mend their differences because of power and chances remain slim these formations can forge an alliance with Mujuru. That presents another bleak future for a country yearning for political emancipation.

Hopefully it’s not another political joke in the making. Muckraker expects Mujuru to walk the talk and like any other Zimbabwean, awaits T-shirts and banners printed, “Amai Must Go!”, “No to Bedroom Coups”, blah blah …

Reminder
Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo wrote on his twitter account that, “Madhuku (Lovemore) is right, Mugabe must go mantra preoccupying successionists isn’t an economic policy.”

Moyo is correct, but he should be reminded that it is essential that the old Zanu PF leader leave office to open new avenues for economic development. Mugabe is not a policy yes — he is actually an obstacle to implementation of progressive policies, making him more detrimental to the country than any other cheap blueprints proposed by his party. “Mugabe must go” mantra can never end until he goes, that’s exactly what the nation wants.

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