White farmers cross over the border and start work
The white farmers that Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe expels in his land reform programme need not look further than neighbouring Mozambique, which has 32 million hectares of unexploited arable land ready and waiting.
Although the authorities in Maputo have said they are not going to sell the land to the white farmers, they are entering into agreement for the land to be exploited and for the farmers to receive some benefits, but always as concessionaries of State-owned lands. A first group of 20 white farmers have already started work in the border province of Manica, with many other requests for land being studied by the civil authorities of Mozambique, at the Investment Promotion Centre, in Maputo. The Vice Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, Joao Carrilho, declared that the government is studying the requests “in detail”.
After decades of civil war, Mozambique’s agricultural output was reduced to practically nothing, until peace was achieved in the 1990s. Even so, only 4 million hectares of Mozambique’s arable land are being exploited and these only for minifundia, or family plots.
It seems the white farmers of Zimbabwe will have the last laugh on Mugabe, whose only hope to feed his starving millions in the coming years will either be to call them back, or buy food from them over the border.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru
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