News / Africa

No Seeds for Zimbabwean Farmers

Zimbabwean farmers attend a meeting of white commercial farmers in the capital Harare (2010 file photo)
Zimbabwean farmers attend a meeting of white commercial farmers in the capital Harare (2010 file photo)
TEXT SIZE - +
Peta Thornycroft

Zimbabwe’s summer rains have started but many peasant farmers have no seed to plant crops and many families, particularly in the south of the country, are desperately hungry because their crops failed last year.  The Solidarity Peace Trust produced a detailed report this week about rural poverty in southern Zimbabwe and said the situation was so bad that South Africa should stop deporting Zimbabweans as their families at home cannot feed them.  
Solidarity Peace Trust, the South Africa-based rights group, has been monitoring hungry families in the dry, southern part of Zimbabwe where there is desperate poverty, especially in the Matabeleland South province.  

Shari Eppel, the group's director in the city of Bulawayo, said that seeds and fertilizer, known in farming circles as "inputs," are not available to produce the staple food of maize.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti allocated money to buy inputs for the country’s poorest 100,000 farmers, and subsidized inputs for a further half-million vulnerable farmers, but officials have apparently not yet located and distributed the materials.

Eppel said Zimbabwe’s meteorological service and the Commercial Farmers Union agree that rains will be plentiful until year's end, so people must plant crops now as there will be little rain from January onwards.

"The problem which people are facing in Matabeleland South and I assume all over country is that there are no free inputs available and it is absolutely crucial that people plant now," said Shari Eppel.

She said research among some of the poorest families in Matabeleland South showed that many families are becoming ever weaker for lack of food, as crops failed because inputs were also late last year.

"Children were crying of hunger during interview sessions and by the second round of interviews in October adults were noticeably weaker," said Eppel. "This is a real concern when you have a family with children when there is no food whatsoever in the house, which is the situation at the moment."

Agriculture in Zimbabwe's tense inclusive government is controlled by President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party.  So far the ministry has not replied to questions about the missing inputs.

Many Zimbabweans whose applications to work in South Africa failed are being deported home at present.  Eppel said South Africa should stop deporting them because their families were too poor to cope with another mouth to feed.

“I think it is disastrous at this state in terms of the additional pressure it is going to put on families," she said. "Those family members are returning to a situation of  desperate poverty and it is simply going to exacerbate the desperate economic situation in the country.”

Eppel also said she is distressed at the lack of emergency food aid available for so many hungry Zimbabweans in the south of the country.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid