Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Land reform and human rights

Kubatana has a PDF article to download about "land reform in Zimbabwe"

Download this document
- Acrobat PDF version (149KB)

Prior to the land seizures and only a decade ago agriculture was the cornerstone of the economy. According to Eric Bloch, (an independent economist in Zimbabwe), agriculture used to provide employment for over 300,000 farm workers and a livelihood for nearly two million people but since the 2000 land reform programme, agriculture has plummeted, foreign exchange inflows have petered out and there has been a breakdown of the rule of law. Eddie Cross (another Zimbabwean independent economist), asserts that in 2000, the total output of the agriculture industry in Zimbabwe was 4.3 million tonnes of agricultural products worth at today's prices US$3.347billion. In 2009 it declined to 1.348 million tonnes of products worth US$1 billion, a decline of 69% in volume and a decline of 70% in value....

I worked in Zim and heard many stories of Africans thrown off land so it could be sold to white farmers, often from Europe (as opposed to local farmers or even from South Africa).

So I rarely write about their plight, figuring that if land reform was good enough for Philippines, where our family's land for many generations was sold to the tenant farmers (who often never paid for it, but that's another story) why couldn't the gov't take land from these farmers (letting them keep a specified amount) and divide it among their workers.

That's what they did here: and our family only owns a few acres per person, not all the farms in the area of our village.

Ironically, this enable farmers to earn more, send their kids to school, and then the kids went overseas or to Manila for better paying jobs in factories.

As a result, a lot of older folks are selling their land: we have bought a lot back and have hired tenant farmers again..., although we are limited in buying because of the legal limits on land ownership.

another thing we see: with the new expressways built over the last ten years, Manila is now only 2 to 3 hours by car (less if no traffic) so lots of summer houses of rich folks have grown up in Santa Cruz and along the roads.

Phillipine land reform office HERE.

Land reform continues in the Philippines, and one of the problems our new president ran into is that his family's plantation didn't get divided up.

and I figure in another 50 years, we may face another rebellion and find our rebought land will have to be distributed/bought to the tenants again.

Oh well....

No comments:

Free hit counters
Free hit counters