April 12, 2006

Fallowed Ground


This cartoon was original posted in May 2005.

From Reuters: Zimbabwe slams aid agency crop reports - paper.

President Robert Mugabe's government has warned aid agencies against conducting so-called back-door crop assessments in Zimbabwe, the official Herald newspaper said on Wednesday.

Aid agencies have warned of another food deficit in the country, which has suffered shortages in the past five years, saying the lack of inputs such as seed and fertiliser has undermined production in the just-ended summer cropping season. ...

In January the government branded the U.S.-based Famine Early Warning System Network, which releases regular reports on Zimbabwe's food balance, as hostile after the group said the country faced worsening supply problems.

Zimbabwe's annual maize output has fallen sharply in the past five years due because of drought and AIDS, which is killing off peasant farmers in the prime of life.

Critics also point to Mugabe's controversial seizures of white-owned farms for blacks, which analysts say has seen commercial agricultural output plunge more than 60 percent. ...

The Commercial Farmers' Union, whose mainly white members were targeted in the government's land seizures, has said Zimbabwe expects another poor harvest of 795,000 tonnes.

Also Gus Van Horn notes Hyperinflation in Zimbabwe (scroll down).

UPDATE -- April 26: From BBC: Zimbabwe 'asks farmers to return'. (via Tom Pechinski)

Zimbabwe's white farmers say they have been invited to apply for land - in an apparent U-turn by the government which has seized their land.

All but 300 of the 4,000 white farmers have been forced off their land since President Robert Mugabe started his "fast-track" land reform in 2000.

A farmers' leader says some 200 applications have already been made and more are coming in.

Critics say the reforms have devastated the economy and led to massive hunger.

Posted by Forkum at April 12, 2006 09:14 PM