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Crisis Report - Issue 234
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
November 04
, 2013

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Depoliticise agriculture and food policy, CiZC urges govt

The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) this week urged the Zimbabwean government to depoliticize agricultural policies if the goal of food security is to be achieved.

The call for government to see agricultural policy and farmland as a serious economic and human sustainability arena than a tool for partisan politics came as Zimbabwe struggles to overcome food insecurity, which has persisted for more than a decade.

While some donors have pledged to feed about 1.8 million people, feeding the remaining 400 000 of the2.2 million who need food aid until March 2014 as estimated by the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVac) could prove difficult, amid recent media reports that Zambia was delaying on a pre-election deal to supply 150 000 tonnes of maize to Zimbabwe on credit.

CiZC Spokesperson, Thabani Nyoni, said the situation where millions depend on foreign sourced food aid was unsustainable, adding that it was time the government revised its agricultural policies in order to depoliticize them and unlock greater productivity.

“A sober and less emotional agricultural policy that takes care of various aspects to unlock the economic value of agriculture is long overdue,” Nyoni said. “Zimbabwe needs to establish investment options and create food security and food sovereignty which citizens have been disenfranshised since 2000.

“We certainly have the potential to feed Africa, what we need are good, inclusive and depoliticized agricultural policies that are implemented.

“The land audit must be done, security of tenure established, land use patterns regulated, food crop production incentivised and distribution mechanism professionalized.”

Nyoni expressed disapproval over the alleged politicizing of food aid distribution and agricultural inputs by government.

“Those that are in government must understand that their duty for the next five years is to govern and deliver such basics like food security to citizens without excuses, exclusion, and parochialism,” Nyoni said. “Access to food is a basic right to all citizens be they black, white, pro- or anti-Zanu-PF.”

Following allegations of partisan food distribution and sensing danger that non-supporters of the ruling Zanu-PF party could be sidelined in government food supplements, two opposition parties Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) and National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) on Wednesday also called upon President Robert Mugabe to give relief to all those who are in need.

Meanwhile, the Constitution of Zimbabwe which became fully operational after President Robert Mugabe’s 7th inauguration in August 2013 emphasizes the need to establish food security.

Section 15 of the Constitution obligates the Zimbabwean State to “secure the establishment of adequate food reserves.”

Section 77 says that, “every person has the right to sufficient food and the State must take reasonable and legislative and other measures, within the limits of the resources available to it, to achieve the progressive realization of this right.”

Zimbabwe once taunted as the breadbasket of Southern Africa on account of its vast arable land and previous agricultural prowess, has been facing a decade marked by food insecurity blamed on a chaotic and partisan land reform program plus continued politicization of agricultural policies.

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