Farming in Zimbabwe today
For over three generations farmers made Zimbabwe the bread basket of Africa. Besides food staples of wheat and maize, the country exported very large tonnages of tobacco and sugar, and even supplied 8000 tonnes of prime beef to Europe
In 2000 Mugabe began his extraordinary campaign to destroy the ‘white’ farming community. Of 4500 farmers, only about 450 had survived the purge by the middle of 2008: the number is much smaller now. The impact on employment, schooling, access to farm clinics and even to food for the 1.5 million farm workers and dependants has been simply devastating. Research conducted by the Justice for Agriculture group showed that up to half those farm workers who were evicted since the beginning of violent land seizures in 2000, have died.
Where are the farmers now?
It is over 15 years since many farmers were forced off their farms. Although some found new openings within Zimbabwe, many relocated to the UK, Australia, New Zealand and beyond. Zambia proved viable for several farmers but of those that chose Nigeria there are very few left.
Many farmers have now reached the stage where they would have been able to retire on their farms handing over the reigns to the next generation. To date the majority have yet to receive any form of compensation for the farms acquired by the Zimbabwe Government land reform programme.