Despite Racist Past, Commercial Farmers Union States Commitment to Zimbabwe’s Recovery

"As a constituency we were not against land reform but it was the process that was so highly contentious" - Ben Purcell-Gilpin

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Despite Racist Past, Commercial Farmers Union States Commitment to Zimbabwe's Recovery
Image Credit: Common Dreams

The Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) of Zimbabwe Director Ben Purcell-Gilpin has said that the organisation, that was built on policies of racial inequality prior to independence is now committed towards facilitating the country’s recovery after the nation experienced an economic downfall.

Gilpin who spoke at the National Consultative Dialogue workshop on Land Tenure and Policy in Zimbabwe said that the Farmers Union had hopes that the time had now arrived for Zimbabweans to move forward less the segregation, divides and exclusion.

“As a Union we are committed to the comprehensive recovery of Zimbabwe and will do our best to facilitate this. This does not however mean that we will or indeed feel the necessity to blindly endorse policy or practice in the Agriculture sector where we see a better way.”said Gilpin.

“As a constituency we were not against land reform but it was the process that was so highly contentious.”

Gilpin also said that the recent move by the government to offer 99 year leases to white farmers that have offer letters speaks to a shift by government towards improving both security for land and equality for citizens.

“Though this has yet to be extended to others, we believe that the government’s  broader lack of inclusion can reverse the improved demographic access to land resulting from reform and prevents a closer look at extending full rights to all farmers.” Gilpin said.

“We believe this is unlikely given the fact that many former commercial farmers have died, emigrated or are simply too old to entertain farming again.”

The Zimbabwean government has recently provided white farmers with 99 year land leases with the President, His Excellency Emmerson Mnangagwa; stating that thinking along racial lines should be a philosophy of the past. 

Zimbabwean white farmers have lost their land during the land reform program as the government led by former President Robert Mugabe stated that the country was correcting past histories of inequality.

The current leader of the country recently said that the land reform program that witnessed black farmers inheriting white owned land is irreversible.

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