BIPPAs require investment security

PRESS STATEMENT                                                                                                      

The Commercial Farmers’ Union, Zimbabwe

16 May 2014

Zimbabwe:  Without a climate of investment security, BIPPAs will not work

The Commercial Farmers’ Union (CFU) welcomes the recent Zimbabwe Government statements regarding Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection (BIPPA)-protected properties.  We see this as a very positive and constructive move on behalf of government in re-establishing a strong investor environment in the agricultural sector.

However after 14 years of agricultural disturbance and upheaval in the commercial farming sector, we unfortunately still see this trend continuing despite these recent statements by government.

Our farmers continue to be evicted despite presidential proclamations that the land reform programme is now complete.

Our farmers continue to be extorted by politically-connected opportunists, many forced into unfair partnerships based on racial prejudice, others forced into paying individuals directly in order for them to continue farming.

Some of our farmers as we speak are having their crops reaped by third parties, who have not had anything to do with the financial investment or growing of these crops.

Farming stoppages continue unabated, forcing the continued uncertainty surrounding agricultural production.

In recent weeks, we have seen an increase in racial rhetoric and open threats being made to our members in many parts of the country. 

Sadly, in recent days, we have seen the wholly unacceptable and brutal attack on two of our farming constituent, resulting in the subsequent tragic passing away of one of them.

After 14 years this surely must come to an end.

Government, through its own admission, has made no real progress in settling long-outstanding claims for the businesses compulsorily acquired during the land reform programme; neither has it made any progress in the establishment of new tradable tenure systems, leaving agriculture in a state of apprehension and under performance.

The Government is currently trying to promote to international investors a climate of investment security in an attempt to attract the much-needed foreign direct investment into our country.

To this end we fully support these efforts, however through the continued actions on the ground, particularly in the agricultural sector, this flies in the face of such proclamations.

We have - and continue to put forward - pragmatic solutions to finally resolve the conflict surrounding land, land ownership and land usage which, if implemented, would settle the past and ignite the future.

Unfortunately, however, progress continues to be hampered by the ongoing, inappropriate and illegal actions of a few.

We urge government as a matter of urgency and national interest to finalise this programme in a fair and pragmatic manner so that our country can once again build a strong economy around a robust, diversified agricultural sector.

Zimbabwe generally - and Zimbabwe agriculture specifically - continues to stagnate as a result of the lack of clear investor-friendly policies, but would quickly recover if such policies were developed and adhered to.

It is high time that the people of this country from all walks of life unite and build our country with the focus of maximizing its great potential; and to that end I challenge this government to play its part.

Finally, to all our members, stay safe during these most difficult times and rest assured that the CFU continues to work in a positive and robust manner with all stakeholders with the sole purpose of creating a positive future for us all.

ENDS

For further information:

Charles Taffs

President

Commercial Farmers’ Union of Zimbabwe

Tel:    +263 4 790 274  or +263 4 790 276

Cell:  +263 772 284 847

E-mail: ctaffs@cfuzim.org or pres@cfuzim.org

Website:  www.cfuzim.org