Seeking solutions for agriculture in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwean commercial farmers whose farms were taken under President Robert Mugabe’s controversial land reform programme were seeking dialogue with the government to revive the country’s struggling agricultural sector.

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“This must re-establish the fundamental foundations needed for rapid economic recovery,” said Charles Taffs, president of the Commercial Farmers’ Union (CFU).  The CFU proposed that a bond underwritten by a top global financier be created to compensate former farmers for properties that were seized by the government.  The land reform programme, introduced by Mugabe in 2000 to reverse colonial imbalances, brought Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector to its knees.

“We at the CFU firmly believe that this need not continue and that a solution to the crisis can be found,” said Taffs. Some dispossessed farmers were farming in neighbouring countries, and other groups had sought compensation through the regional Southern African Development Community tribunal.