Let’s make our land productive again

EDITORIAL

IT is heartening that reality has finally dawned on President Emmerson Mnangagwa that us, and only us alone, can lift ourselves from the problems confronting us.

“We will use our domestic resources to industrialise, modernise and improve our economy. The speed of development is constrained by the question of sanctions,” was his recent rallying call for the nation to put its shoulder to the wheel.

For decades this country has thrown away opportunities to rise from the dead as our leaders allowed and participated in mass looting of the very resources that the country needed to “industrialise, modernise and improve” its economy.

While the issue of the US$15 billion diamond money which has gone missing is neither here nor there, the fact that former President Robert Mugabe mentioned it is proof enough that our resources have been looted left, right and centre, resulting in the country squandering the chance to be counted among progressive nations.

The country currently sits on a very special resource and which it left to go to waste. Zimbabwe arguably has some of the world’s best soils, which unfortunately, have been abused and left fallow for years.

We beseech Mnangagwa to make this area his first port of call because this is one sure way this economy can raise itself from the doldrums. We have many people in government and the ruling party with vast tracts of land that are idle, yet more than five million of our kinspeople will be hungry this year. We must fight hunger first so that we get the energy to grow for export. European Union nations and others in Asia and the Americas are yearning for our wholesome food, which includes beef and horticultural products such as flowers.

We already have a number of dedicated farmers who are, this very moment, growing for the export market and we must all, as a nation, applaud them. And, while commending these gallant citizens, we, however, wish to call on Mnangagwa to rein in some of his foot soldiers who are currently busy kicking out people from their productive farms.

A case in point is that of the son of Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister, who is currently busy trying to displace a farmer who has been earning this country the much-needed foreign currency through export of horticulture products. We hope the President will not turn a blind eye and let Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister Ellen Gwaradzimba’s son, Remembrance Mbudzana, to grab Richard Le Vieux’s highly-productive macademia, avocado and coffee farm.

We are wary because our history is replete with cases of people who have grabbed productive land, and in one season the farms were turned into wasteland that only grew grass.

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