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Land Reform and the lingering Zimbabwe food crisis

Land reform in Zimbabwe

Land reform in Zimbabwe officially began in 1979 with the signing of the Lancaster House Agreement, an effort to more equitably distribute land between the historically disenfranchised blacks and the minority-whites who ruled Zimbabwe from 1890 to 1979.  Zimbabwean whites, although making up less than 1% of the population, owned more than 70% of the arable land, including most of the best. With no allocation of property rights, communal lands were characterised by slash-and-burn agriculture, resulting in a tragedy of the commons. Since the implementation of the most recent land reforms, only 300 of 4,500 commercial farmers remain on farms. The eviction of the mostly white farmers has been partly blamed by critics and aid agencies for Zimbabwe’s worst famine in living memory, more
Zimbabwe food crisis ‘looms’
The International Red Cross has warned that Zimbabwe could be facing a very severe food crisis. The charity says that more than 2.7 million people, a quarter of the country’s population, are in “dire need” of food aid.  There are already more than two million people who need food aid in the country and that number is going to rise because the harvest has failed, the group says.
They are appealing for donors to contribute more than $20m in funding. There is also concern about the possible impact of food shortage on the estimated one million children left orphaned after their parents died of Aids.Source   

White people in Zimbabwe

After the country’s independence as Zimbabwe in 1980, white people had to adjust to being an ethnic minority in a country with an African government. Many white people emigrated in the early 1980s, being uncertain about their future, but many remained. Political unrest and the illegal seizure of farms resulted in a further exodus commencing in 1999. Two white farmers and an unknown number of African farmworkers were killed while defending their farms from these seizures. The 2002 census recorded 46,743 white people remaining in Zimbabwe. More than 10,000 were elderly and fewer than 9,000 were under the age of 15.[1]more

Lawyers for dispossessed farmers believe that on Monday they will be able to start using the law to seize houses in Cape Town which are owned by the Zimbabwean government. Their action, which follows a landmark legal ruling, promises to humiliate Mr Mugabe and embarrass South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma, who was on a state visit to Britain last week.
The battle for justice fought by one of the white farmers, Mike Campbell, aged 77, was featured in the documentary film Mugabe and the White African. It was shown in British cinemas this year to great acclaim.  The film tells how he fought stubbornly to bring a legal case in 2008 against Mr Mugabe’s government at the Southern African Development Community tribunal, based in the Namibian capital Windhoek.
Mr Campbell won a victory when the court ruled that Mr Mugabe’s farm takeovers were racist in nature and therefore illegal.more


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