Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Bleak harvest predicted

If you throw out the most efficient farmers, and then provide land to people with little expertise, why should one wonder when they aren't as good as raising food? Terrible famines occurred when Stalin removed the kulaks, when he confiscated land and food from the Ukraine, and similarly, China's Great Leap Forward, where peasants were told what and how to plant by people with no agricultural experience, led to millions of deaths that were never reported, and still is a poorly known story..

A senior Zimbabwean politician has blamed fertiliser shortages and technical ignorance among black farmers for a predicted bleak harvest this year.

The deputy agriculture minister, Sylvester Nguni, in a rare admission of failures in the nation's land redistribution programme, said in a state-run newspaper that many new farmers who received formerly white-owned land lacked the expertise to produce crops on what he called a "commercial and even subsistence level"....

Robert Mugabe, the president, has insisted his land redistribution programme, begun in 2000, was intended to correct imbalances in ownership dating from the colonial era.

Critics say, however, that prime farms were allocated to ruling party members, judges, city business owners, government supporters and law-enforcement officials with no farming experience...

So you end up with a shortage of maize in the major cities LINK

THE maize meal shortage in Zimbabwe has reached crisis proportions as the scarce commodity is being sold in smaller quantities, where it is available.

In Bulawayo, for example, two small teacups command $35 000 while in Harare, 500g cost $50 000. Maize meal joins a plethora of other basic commodities such as fuel, electricity, sugar, salt, tape water and cooking oil which are not readily available.

Nearly five million Zimbabweans are expected to face food shortages this year...

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