Zimbabwe Government Meets Evicted White Farmers Who Left Country

  • Deputy Minister says growers should be given opportunities
  • White farmers can particpate in specialized crops: Mukupe
By Godfrey Marawanyika and Brian Latham

(Bloomberg) — 

Zimbabwean Deputy Finance Minister Terence Mukupe has met with white farmers who moved elsewhere after being evicted during the country’s often-violent land seizures.

Mukupe, who was appointed to the role in new President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government, sees opportunities for the farmers to return and participate in the economy, he said in an interview this week.

Zimbabwe should treat exiled white farmers like “any other Zimbabwean” and offer them opportunities to farm in the country, Mukupe said ahead of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front party’s congress in the capital, Harare, Friday. “They’re saying let bygones be bygones and that they want to be afforded opportunities just like any other Zimbabwean.”

About 3,000 mainly white commercial farmers were evicted from their farms under former president Robert Mugabe’s land reform program since 2000. Agricultural production plummeted and Zimbabwe’s economy halved in size, while millions of farm workers were made homeless, according to the United Nations.

Mnangagwa already ordered this month that a white Zimbabwean farmerevicted from his land in June be allowed to return, signaling a shift in land policy from Mugabe.

“There are specialized areas like growing bananas, macadamias and other horticultural products which these guys can participate in,” Mukupe said.

While agriculture has partially recovered in Zimbabwe, it’s been at a cost. The country recently produced a record tobacco crop, although the quality of the harvest has suffered. Corn production has also risen, but only after the government offered a price that was about $100 a metric ton higher than in neighboring countries.

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