Monday, May 20, 2013

(SUNDAY MAIL ZW) Farmers hail passing of constitutional Bill
Sunday, 12 May 2013 00:00
Emilia Zindi Agriculture Editor

Farmer organisations have hailed the passing of the Constitutional Bill in the House of Assembly last Thursday, describing the development as the beginning of a new era in the farming sector. All the 156 legislators who attended the parliamentary session overwhelmingly voted for the Bill, exceeding the two-thirds statutory requirement.

The Bill, which now awaits Senate approval, is expected to become law soon after the President assents to it.

In separate interviews last week, farmer representatives said the House of Assembly’s endorsement was a clear sign that Zimbabwe had come of age.

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers’ Union president Mr Wonder Chabikwa said farmers were happy Zimbabwe was on the verge of adopting a home-grown constitution, which guarantees their right to land allocated under the land reform programme.

He also said the proposed new constitution gives farmers the confidence to invest on farms, knowing the land reform programme is irreversible.

“This is a great achievement for us in the farming sector. We will have the right to land allocated to us. The new constitution is great in that it recognises that the land reform programme was necessary. As such, resettled farmers are the rightful owners of those pieces of land,” he said.

“We, as farmer organisations, wanted elections as early as yesterday because the agriculture sector has suffered heavily under this creature called the inclusive Government. We have not been supported fully.”

Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union vice-president Mr Berean Mukwembe said the farming sector stood on the verge of making history. “It is key for farmers to vote so that we get the support we desperately need in the revival of this crucial sector. It is well known the world over that without farmers, there is no production,” he said.

“Most farmers have been caught under this predicament where they invest the little cash they have into the soil only to be disappointed when the crop withers in the middle of the season.

“This now requires Government to seriously consider investing in irrigation schemes on every farm that has access to dams.”

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