HARARE – Evicted Zimbabwean white farmers that settled in Zambia have said they are willing to return home to help turn the country’s agricultural economy around under President Emerson Mnangagwa’s government.
It is mainly the evicted white Zimbabwean farmers’ innovations that have transformed small-scale growers in their newly-adopted neighbouring country into productive farmers, upping their production from half a ton per hectare to between four and five tonnes a hectare.
This year Zambia is having a maize surplus and, ironically, will be exporting tonnes of wheat to its neighbour, Zimbabwe, and the maize contract on Africa’s most liquid stock market will further incentivise maize production in the neighbouring country.
Finance deputy minister Terence Mukupe yesterday met the white farmers in neighbouring Zambia and many of the farmers told him they were “homesick and wanted to take part in the new dispensation under Mnangagwa.”
“I met Zimbabwean farmers who lost their farms during the land redistribution exercise and are now based in Zambia and now doing very well there. What was quite intriguing was how they all said they were homesick and wanted to take part in the new dispensation under HE (His Excellency) Mnangagwa.
“They want to take up our president on his clarion call that all well-meaning Zimbabweans will be given an opportunity to participate in the rebuilding of our great nation.
“The same sentiments are being expressed by our fathers in Nigeria, USA, Australia and UK.
“We are truly one Zimbabwe and we all want what’s best for our nation,” Mukupe said.
A day before the meeting Mukupe had emphasised that he was meeting white Zimbabwean farmers in Zambia “with a very simple message… Your country needs you, let’s press the refresh button and move forward to rebuild our nation.”
Mnangagwa in his inaugural speech stressed that the land seizures would not be reversed, vowing instead to compensate evicted farmers and to put the vast tracts of idle land back into production.
“My government is committed to compensating those farmers from whom land was taken,” he said, adding that he will “ensure that all land is utilised optimally.”