To make the situation even worse, the maize harvest is expected to be just as bad. The World Food Programme says at least a quarter of the population will need food aid in the coming months. It describes hunger in some parts of the country, which used to be a food exporter, as "acutely serious". Last week, the government said it plans to import 100,000 tonnes of wheat but acknowledged that a shipment of 35,000 tonnes was held up in Mozambique because of a shortage of hard currency to pay for it.
The agriculture minister, Rugare Gumbo, has blamed the food shortages on black farmers who have taken over formerly white-owned land. "I am painfully aware of the widespread theft of stock, farm produce, irrigation equipment and the general vandalism of infrastructure by our new farmers," he said. I am disappointed that our new farmers have proved to be failures since the start of the land reform programme in 2000. In spite of all the support government has been pouring into the agricultural sector, productivity and under-utilisation of land remains issues of concern."
The government's admission that the land redistribution has failed to deliver the promised boost to food production coincides with a deadline for the last white farmers to vacate their land. The farms were nationalised last year and the handover to the state was set for today. Any farmer remaining on their former land faces prosecution for trespassing on state property. About 50 farmers have already been summonsed by the courts.
The plan to compel firms to sell a majority of their equity to black Zimbabweans will almost certainly make Zimbabwe’s economic situation even worse/ The government has ignored the protests of some foreign investors, including South African banks and mining houses. With the collapse of tobacco production, mining is now the country's largest source of foreign currency. Zimbabwe's minister of indigenisation, Paul Mangwana, said those companies that do not like it can "pack their bags and go. If they feel that we went into the bush for them to enjoy our wealth then they can leave. We are talking about the total liberation of this country. I have no apologies for that," he said.
President Robert Mugabe continues to blame his country's financial problems on what he calls British-led economic sanctions. I have said it before and I will say it again, Zimbabwe will be better off when that piece of garbage is deposed or dead. As for Paul Mangwana, His words about the total liberation of his country is all well and good. It would be somewhat better if total liberation did not mean Zimbabweans had not been liberated from access to food.