White farmers remain unsure of their situation as government oscillates from one point to another, it has emerged.
BY RICHARD CHIDZA
According to a Commercial Farmers’ Union (CFU) briefing dated July 24, the farmers’ group said government should make the right decision in order for normalcy to return in the agricultural sector.
“With all our continued discussions, what does come across though is a definite admission from all concerned that our industry desperately needs to be rebuilt. (This) can only be done once the conflict over the acquisition of our investments has been adequately resolved,” the briefing, signed by CFU director Hendriek Olivier, reads.
“In saying this though, it is amazing just how many successful enterprises are currently being developed and run out there by people who have simply made a plan through all the hardships.”
The CFU comprises mainly the few remaining white farmers following the decimation caused by the State-sponsored land reform exercise.
The farmers were unsure whether there would be relevant changes instituted in time to bring back the desired confidence to the sector.
“We certainly hope so and although we are seeing some encouraging signs, the variety of different perspectives being put across in the Press, these simply keep us on an emotional rollercoaster,” they said.
“Others would prefer to see the offending pieces of legislation amended to bring back confidence and firm security to invest fully into the future. For the majority in the industry, this needs to happen ‘yesterday’ without any further delays as the new season is upon us.”
The CFU urged urgency in decision-making to avert a situation that has become cyclical of failed farming seasons that government has blamed on poor rains, but that critics contend is a result of disruptions and poor planning.
“Let the right decisions be made soon so that they can be given the time to be implemented in time to save us from yet another disastrous agricultural season. Deep down, everyone knows exactly what has to be done, but it just has to be done — right now,” the farmers’ group said.
It added that discussions on the compensation of former farmers had to be satisfactorily resolved.
“But there is, of course, the question of where the money would come from, an issue that the Zimbabwean government has consistently rejected save for developments on land,” the farmers said.
“It is, of course, also a very sensitive issue between all the parties involved.”
The CFU indicated it had put together a viable plan that involved investors pouring in money to fund the agrarian reforms that would return Zimbabwe to its former glory.
“There have recently been more ideas on the self-generation of the required amount of finance needed, which is currently being tossed around and debated,” the farmers said.
“Lots of other extremely good ideas have continually been thrown into the pot over the years, but we must remember that nothing will be finalised until such time that a final agreement is signed by all parties that are involved, sitting around the table.”