Zimbabwe's white farmers complain of continued harassment

Posted On Wednesday, 06 July 2005 02:00 Published by
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Harare - Zimbabwe's remaining white commercial farmers face continued harassment, abuse and loss of equipment, even though the government claims that land seizures are over, their union said on Monday.


"Government has on many occasions indicated that the land reform programme has been completed but despite assurances from the relevant authorities, forced evictions, seizures and threats continue," Doug Taylor-Freeme, president of the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) said in a statement on Monday.

Of the 400 farmers remaining out of the 4,500 white farmers in Zimbabwe before land reforms were launched five years ago, at least five are driven off their land every week, said Taylor-Freeme.

"An average of five farmers per week are subjected to forced evictions," the CFU head said. He said the latest victim was a farmer from the eastern Middle Sabi farming region who was "attacked and severely beaten by six individuals" on Sunday.

The farmers' union "strongly objects to the constant lawlessness that prevails in the districts", said Taylor-Freeme.

"This is unacceptable," he said calling on law-enforcement agencies to bring an end to "this senseless violence, threats and intimidation."

Taylor-Freeme pleaded with authorities to put a stop to the violence to stabilise the agricultural sector and improve production in Zimbabwe, which is suffering from food shortages.

"The past agricultural season has been difficult with basic commodities in short supply. There is need to show respect for each other's lives and property so as to allow the agricultural sector to play its role within the economy," he said.

Zimbabwe embarked on its land redistribution programme in February 2000, seizing prime farmland owned by some 4,500 white farmers and handing it over to the landless black majority.

The government's land reforms have been partly blamed for compromising food production in what was once the southern African region's breadbasket.

White farmers owned some 70% of the most fertile land in Zimbabwe before the reforms were implemented.
Fewer than a dozen white farmers lost their lives at the start of the farm invasions in 2000.

Last modified on Thursday, 17 April 2014 15:51

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