11 April 2011

Zimbabwe: Farmers Suffer Effects of Sanctions

THE effects of the devastating illegal economic sanctions imposed on the country by the West are taking a toll on the country's agriculture sector.

Farmers are failing to secure cheap inputs and access to lucrative markets for their produce, an official has said.

Shamva North legislator and Minister of Transport, Communication and Infrastructure Development, Nicholas Goche, said the agricultural sector had suffered a huge knock from the illegal economic sanctions. Minister Goche said this at a field day in Mt Darwin at a farm owned by Madzibaba Wimbo.

"Many of us are of the idea that sanctions are not targeted as reported in the Western and private media, but have affected all sectors of the economy.

'Our farmers cannot get fertilisers and other inputs at affordable prices, while their crops are denied access to lucrative markets," he said.

Minister Goche said that political independence would have been hollow if it was not followed by the redistribution of land and other economic empowerment programmes.

"The land reform came out of the realisation that political independence is not enough unless people attain economic liberation.

"We repossessed our land from them but because they do not want to lose control of our resources, they have tried desperately to hang around.

"They have now embarked on sponsoring puppet opposition parties that advance their regime change agenda," he said.

Minister Goche said the West was fully aware that Zimbabwe was capable of sustaining itself through agriculture and revenue from minerals hence the imposition of illegal sanctions to cripple such development.

"God has blessed our country in many ways.

"We have rich fertile land and abundant minerals that are envied by many in the whole world.

"It is our time to show the world that the land reform is a success despite the effects of the illegal sanctions.

"The prices of tobacco this season are quite encouraging and we are expecting deliveries of close to 250 million kg, eclipsing the all time high of 200 million kg achieved by white farmers," Minister Goche said.

He said the whites had all the necessary inputs but never bothered to assist new farmers.

The agriculture sector contributes approximately 20 percent of the country's gross domestic product, 22 percent of foreign exchange earnings and 23 percent of formal employment.

"Therefore if economic sanctions are lifted and credit lines are made available to Government, the 300 000 newly resettled farmers will immensely contribute to the economic recovery process.

"Owing to the availability of affordable essential inputs courtesy the Presidential Well-wishers Input Scheme and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's farm mechanisation initiatives that have equipped farmers, production is set to soar while the current liberalisation will ensure that farmers have great financial incentives to produce.

Speaking at the same event, Madzibaba Wimbo expressed gratitude to the Government's economic indigenisation programmes that ensured the people had access to the means of production.

Madzibaba Wimbo got a tractor under the farm mechanisation programme.

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