Saturday, July 30, 2005

"There's no Aggro or Animosity"- says Zimbabwean Farmers in Nigeria

Robert Mugabe, showcased as "Bob" in the preceeding post: Bob-The Teacher -
“…embarked on one of the most ambiguous projects of all time- land reform. He evicted thousands of white farmers and allocated choice plots to his cronies. On the surface, the concept of land redistribution is warranted given that the white minorities owned slightly more than a third of the land in the country. Compared to black farmers, the land owned by white farmers were also located in areas with surplus rain and more fertile. But there is no economic sense in taking away land from the white farmers, who were mostly commercial tobacco farmers (the major export produce), to black farmers, who are mostly subsistence farmer with little or no skills of commercial farming.”
Bobbie goofed!

Africa and his country need commercialized farming. Yes, he had to deliver on his electoral promise of land redistribution, but the approach he took was wrong. The thousands of white farmers he evicted were producers; they contributed to Zimbabwean economy, and surely their exit did leave a decent hole in the national purse.

"Here we are equal... We are just all one people - and that's good"-Dan Swart, a Zimbabwean farmer

Well his loss is now Nigeria’s gain. Some of the farmers have found a second home in far away Shonga, an agrarian rural community in Kwara State, Nigeria. The farmers were invited by the state governor to help boost food supply in his state. He provided land, some financial and logistical asssitance. Yes, the farmers have settled down now, and they have just finished planting their first set of crops on land leased from the government. Their presence in Shonga promises to be the beginning of a new era to this rural community. Already about 2,000 residents have earned part-time income just assisting the farmers on the field, and that is just the beginning.

Enjoy this BBC photo journal on Zimbabwean farmers in Nigeria.