Zimbabwe’s reserve bank governor, John Mangudya, has reportedly blasted the country’s new farmers for their “laziness”, saying they should work hard to recover the country’s agricultural sector.
Mangudya said unproductive new farmers and politics were destroying the country’s agricultural production, according to New Zimbabwe.com. He was speaking at the 75th annual congress of the Zimbabwe Farmers Union in the eastern border city of Mutare.
“We need to remove politics from farming if we are to re-energise this sector; Zimbabweans tend to mix the two,” Mangudya was reported as saying.
Mangudya also said the country needed “serious” and hard-working farmers. Mangudya’s remarks came at a time when Zimbabwe was set to import at least 700 000 tons of maize from neighbouring countries to avert a food crisis.
‘Move away from government freebies’
The World Food Programme said recently that around 1.5 million Zimbabweans were expected to go hungry this year after a dramatic fall in maize production.
According to News Day, Mangudya said farmers had failed to produce adequately, forcing the country to rely on imports.
“We need to remove politics from farming if we are to re-energise this sector; Zimbabweans tend to mix the two.”
He said farmers needed to be self-reliant.
“They [farmers] should move away from [the] culture of getting freebies from government. It puts much pressure on government. We have so much pressure. There are some people [farmers] who are relaxing, waiting for government to assist them,” Mangudya was quoted as saying.
President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party launched the land reforms in 2000, taking over white-owned farms to resettle landless blacks.
Mugabe said at the time that the reforms were meant to correct colonial land ownership imbalances. At least 4 000 white commercial farmers were evicted from their farms.
The land seizures were often violent, claiming the lives of several white farmers during clashes with veterans of Zimbabwe’s 1970s liberation struggle.