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In September issue of Forbes Africa, which I picked up when travelling recently through South Africa, I found interesting article depicting a story of a certain farmer from Zimbabwe. His name is Tommy Bayley and he lost his farm during infamous land seizures in 2002. His family owned that farm for about 50 years, his father, aged 88, died of a broken heart – as Tom himself says. The siege on that farm lasted 35 days. What is more interesting is what happened afterwards – the production on that farm is at about 10% of what it previously was. According to that article, generally in Zimbabwe “at its peak in 1997, the agriculture sector employed more than 500.000 people, contributing 30% of GDP. Since 2000, Zimbabwe has seen production of maize declining by 79%, wheat by 90%, soya beans 66%, citrus 50%, fresh produce 61%, dairy 59%, beef 67%, coffee 92% and tea 40%.” Article also says that “Zimbabwe government has hinted the country could be backtracking on its chaotic land reform program that begun in 2000”, although that is not yet confirmed. Get this – land “reform” managed to destroy what has been built over 50 years or more within 15 years, setting the country agriculture way back.

I am not going to comment on this, you yourself should draw own conclusions. Why it is difficult (or impossible) for new “owners” of that land to at least maintain same level of production as before? Of course I view this “reform” as a hint of what could happen – or maybe already is happening – in South Africa. Replacing previous owners or workers when they were white to black ones does not necessarily means that all things will remain the same or will get better. Zimbabwe is proof enough of this. As per question why it is so, answer it yourself.

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