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Mnangagwa a good farmer but then...

by Staff reporter
13 Mar 2024 at 16:29hrs | Views
While Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa's Precabe Farm in Sherwood, near Kwekwe, is doing well and is often used to showcase isolated success stories of the state-sponsored chaotic land reform programme, it is also true that powerful politicians and elites like him benefit from direct and indirect subsidies by the state, business community and individual donations.

Mnangagwa got his farm through the chaotic and oft-violent land reform programme.

Senior government and Zanu-PF benefited from various state-sponsored programmes giving them farming implements or equipment and inputs.

State media has reported that Mnangagwa has over 2000 cattle, 400 goats, chicken and fish; some of these donated.

The media also says Mnangagwa slaughters two beasts a week to feed workers.

Mnangagwa, presented as a successful farmer who has dramatically increased productivity 10 times, grows maize, soya beans, wheat and horticultural products.

Although the success of some new farmers has debunked myths that blacks cannot farm, the reality is Zimbabwe has not recovered from the devastating impact of the economic collapse of agriculture, the mainstay of the economy.

That is why without fixing agriculture, among other issues primarily politics, the economy will not recover.

The context is that after the withdrawal of agrarian capital from financing agriculture in the context of historical grievances, policy clashes and a backlash following the implementation radical land redistribution and tenure reforms since 2000, the financially constrained cropped at Zimbabwean state assumed a significant role in funding production, especially of food grains.

Dr Freedom Mazwi, a local political economist, says various input subsidy programmes were initiated by state and donor agencies to plug the challenges faced by farmers in accessing expensive agricultural inputs, such as seeds and fertiliser on the open markets.

Notwithstanding interventions, the country's national production has been short of domestic demand for grains, among other key food items, and the recurrent deficits have been increasingly met with a ballooning food import bill. Against this background, in 2016, Mazwi says, government initiated the Special Maize Import Substitution Programme to enhance domestic production and reduce food imports.

Commonly referred to as the Targeted Command Agriculture Programme (TCAP), it is akin to a contract-farming scheme enlisting both the peasantries and the new small-scale capitalist farms, with funding support from domestic capital. Contract farming in Zimbabwe has largely been driven by domestic and international agribusiness and focused on export commodities such as cotton, tobacco and horticulture.

In this respect, this represents a relatively novel, if not innovative, approach by the state to finance food production through contract farming geared to serve the home market.

This model of financing agriculture has benefited government and Zanu-PF officials, giving them a major boost and advantage over other farmers who do not have similar funding and are not in the patronage network.

Source - newshawks
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