Taruvinga Magwiroto One of the important aftermaths of the land reform has been the emergence of a new class of farmers, popularly known as “new farmers”, who come from all sections of Zimbabwean society, but often with no prior experience or training in agriculture. Ian Scoones (2014) has argued that since new farmers tend to be younger, ambitious and better connected to urban centres with … Continue reading What’s eating into farmers’ margins? A ZATT perspective.
Taruvinga Magwiroto Attending the public session of the Commercial Farmers Union Annual General Meeting on 29 September this year, my first impression was that this is an organisation in decline. Battered and bruised by jambanja, membership depleted by migration and natural attrition, it is fact that CFU has literally shriveled, both in terms of membership and in terms of influence. But it is testament to … Continue reading Reflections from the CFU Congress: Resilience, Residual influence, Renewal?
Taruvinga Magwiroto, recently in Bulawayo “And a million P.D’s later, Japie Jackson is still standing, ready for one more P.D… never losing the threads of a story that started almost 100 years back in the frontier town of Masvingo.” Cue to the legendary Dr. Japie Jackson reaching for a tissue. And no wonder: John Crawford’s speech was a powerful mix of appreciation, humour and story-telling … Continue reading Beef School 2022: Where ideas, relationships and organisation meet
Taruvinga Magwiroto Today I woke up with the rising sun, savoring each caressing ray of light on my skin, awed at the amazing powers of Mother Nature to command the seasons. Across the paddock, wild nature echoed my spirit – the bouncy exuberant chirping of birds darting around the technicolour explosion of tender msasa foliage heralds the dawn of yet another spring. Another year, another … Continue reading Towards 2023: Series 1: What’s at stake?
Taruvinga Magwiroto At around 8 am we pick up the last member of the quartet that make up our travelling party. I am relieved that the contingent is finally complete without so much as a hitch and we can focus on the journey. An odd, fascinating bunch we are – the four of us. Let me introduce you. On the wheel there sits Alan York: … Continue reading Retreat to Vic Falls: The Journey (Part 1)
Taruvinga Magwiroto Understated and self-effacing, grey and a little grizzled, he walks with a slight limp and the help of a cane. If you meet Godfrey Nkunzani in the street, you would be forgiven for mistaking him for just another pensioner. He is anything but. Take a second look and you see in his penetrating grey eyes the vitality that belies the physical frailty. Talk … Continue reading Land reform success stories: The Godfrey Nkunzani farming story
Taruvinga Magwiroto Today, 25 May 2022, I visited Mr. Zenda at his makeshift home by Mazowe Dam. In a way, the gentleman is our local version of the archetypical frontiersman. But not quite: he is disabled from childhood polio and his gait is rather slow and tortured, but that does not take away the magnetic aura about him. As I got into his patch of … Continue reading A visit to another Africa
Taruvinga Magwiroto In much of recent history, Zimbabwe’s agrarian system has been largely shaped by struggles; from the time that one foreign civilization subdued and conquered a native one up to the time that the conquered rose and toppled the former. It is a society that has in fact been shaped by periodic fits of violent revolutions, each period of violence heralding new forms of … Continue reading Decamping Ghost Town: journey towards agrarian redemption in Zim agriculture
Taruvinga Magwiroto If life is a journey, then leadership is the most crucial variable in that journey. The influence of leadership in that journey is pervasive: leaders determine the destination, direction and the route of the journey. In the previous instalment, I introduced the ‘God’ metaphor. I said that when we are looking for political leaders, we are looking for God. This is the character … Continue reading Towards 2023 Series 3: Leadership
Taruvinga Magwiroto In this second instalment, I analyse the concept of people’s aspirations as the foundational driver of a national renewal process. But first, I want to frame the context in which people’s aspirations find expression. People’s aspirations find expression in developmental situations, defined as a situation in which people sharing a common environment are engaged in ongoing interactions to define and shape the trajectory … Continue reading Towards 2023 2: People’s Aspirations
Taruvinga Magwiroto Sunday evening, Allan and Jody came by to say hello. That was my first time ever to meet the Savory’s, and I was stuck by their comfortable camaraderie (Allan introduced Jody as his Minister of Finance!), their pared-down deportment, the smooth hospitality. But there was a little stiffness too: we hardly knew each other. Nobody knew exactly how to behave. Do we fist … Continue reading Retreat to Vic Falls 2: Meeting Allan Savory
Taruvinga Magwiroto One of the most polarising issues in Zimbabwean agriculture today is ZIDERA, the US law that spells sanctions against Zimbabwe. The existence, magnitude and impact of the sanctions has been so hotly contested that real truth around sanctions lies deeply buried in the debris of spin. The purpose of this article is to try to resurrect the real issues from the debris of … Continue reading Sanctionsland: Time to bury Pride on the Altar of Magnanimity
Taruvinga Magwiroto I’ve heard it said, several times since I started interacting with the grassroots, that “the tragedy in post land reform Zimbabwe is that the bulk of the people on the land today are not farmers”. I believe this is an assertion worth interrogating. How do we define a farmer? I’ve been grappling with this question for a long time, yet I’m not near … Continue reading Land owners and farmers: who is who?