Lift sanctions first — Made


Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development minister Joseph Made allegedly told United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe Charles Ray that Zimbabwe would not carry out a land audit until sanctions were lifted.

This was revealed in a leaked US diplomatic cable to Washington intercepted by whistleblowing website WikiLeaks last year.

According to the cable, Made blamed the country’s poor agricultural performance on sanctions and said they were denying farmers lines of credit and had reduced electricity supplies to the extent that it affected irrigation.

“The Ambassador asked whether a land audit would be carried out as stipulated in the Global Political Agreement (GPA), but Made replied there would be no audit until sanctions were lifted,” the cable read.
“Made said sanctions were responsible for reduced supplies of electricity which in turn made irrigation difficult and curtailed fertiliser production.”

But recently, Energy and Power Development minister Elton Mangoma attributed problems bedevilling the energy sector to lack of infrastructural support from government over the last 10 years.

Ironically, Zanu PF MPs last week accused Finance minister Tendai Biti of underfunding the agricultural sector, and blamed its poor showing on him.

Biti told the House of Assembly during Wednesday’s question-and-answer session that from the beginning of the inclusive government in February 2009 to date, government, the private sector and the international donor community had pooled together $1,9 billion towards resuscitation of the sector.

However, he said the sector did not have a business model, hence, its poor performance.

“The things that need to be resolved that are killing agriculture are the lack of finance since there is no money in Zimbabwe. It is the absence of a business model in agriculture because when we farm we must all accept that it is a business. Thirdly, it is not possible for government to fund agriculture 100% because agriculture is traditionally financed by the private sector,” Biti said.

“We need securitised long leases and title deeds so that we can go and borrow money from the bank and so that we liberate the government.”