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report of the Joint Portfolio Committees on Lands and Public Service
on plight of farm workers [SC 1, 2007]
of the Joint Portfolio Committees on Lands, Land Reform, Resettlement
and Agriculture and Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare on
the plight of farm workers and its impact on agricultural
Second Session – Sixth Parliament, Parliament of Zimbabwe
Presented to Parliament Thursday 8th March, 2007
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of the Joint Committee
of Farm Workers
Raised by Farmers
- Joint committee's
Your Portfolio Committees on Lands, Land Reform, Resettlement and
Agriculture and Public Service Labour and Social Welfare conducted
a joint inquiry into the plight of farm workers and its impact on
agricultural productivity, in terms of Standing Order No. 153. This
was a follow-up to an all stakeholder workshop organised by the
Portfolio Committee on Lands, Land Reform, Resettlement and Agriculture
together with the Farm Community Trust of Zimbabwe in October 2005.
out its inquiry, your Joint Committee held stakeholder meetings
with relevant organisations in the agricultural sector and conducted
public hearings in Mashonaland Central and Manicaland Provinces.
Your Joint Committee also received valuable written submissions
from stakeholders as well as members of the public.
At the time
of its inquiry, your Joint Committee found out that farm workers
were getting unacceptably low wages, Z$8 000 per month. Your Committee
was told that new wages for the current quarter had not been agreed
upon due to a deadlock between farmers' and farm workers' representatives
in the National Employment Council board for Agricultural (NEC).
The former was proposing a new wage of Z$16 000 whereas the latter
was demanding Z$78 000 per month. Apart from paltry wages, your
Committee was not happy with the general appalling conditions of
service for farm workers, especially as regards; housing, employment
contracts, late and non payment, denial of lunch breaks, sick and
compassionate leave, just to mention but a few.
their part, whilst appreciating the plight of farm workers said
that they were not able to provide adequately for the welfare of
their farm workers due to a number of reasons. They cited late distribution
of inputs and the general shortage of inputs on the open market,
late processing of bank loans, lack of security of tenure and collateral
security, equipment and irrigation infrastructure as some of the
factors that have contributed to low productivity. They said as
long as these issues were not addressed, farmers could not be expected
to produce at a level where they were able to provide adequately
for the welfare of their workers.
As a result
of poor working conditions, some farm workers have resorted to gold
panning and all sorts of illegal activities in order to eke out
All the afore-mentioned
challenges have led to low agricultural productivity and in turn
adversely affected the welfare of farm workers. Your Joint Committee,
therefore, urges government to adopt a holistic approach to address
the issue of low agricultural productivity and the welfare of farm
workers because they are inseparable.
. . .
Based on what it saw on the farms, it is your Joint Committee's
considered opinion that if government does not put in place aggressive
policies to address the afore-mentioned challenges, the country
might be sitting on a time bomb in terms of food security and the
economy in general. Your Joint Committee, therefore, calls for government
to adopt a holistic approach to address these challenges and thus
raise agricultural productivity, which in turn will go a long way
in improving the welfare of farm workers because the two are inseparable.
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