Made remains non-existent

HARARE - Agriculture minister Joseph Made remains clueless on turning around fortunes of the agriculture sector, 14 years after being handed the portfolio.

For the past few years, Made has blamed economic sanctions, lack of funding and perennial droughts over the sector’s failure to grow enough crops to feed the whole nation.

However, following the good rains the country has received during the current season, Made this week predicted a “bumper harvest” arguing that Zimbabwe will have the highest yield in recent years close to the 1980s level.

Nobody knows where Made is getting his facts and we have every reason to doubt him. He has misled the nation before.

This is the same man, who several years ago, took a helicopter trip around the country, viewed green trees and on that basis declared the country was about to enjoy a bumper maize harvest.

The maize deficit that resulted and has continued every year since then earned Made much scorn and derision. A senior official in the Agriculture ministry recently said Zimbabwe is likely to experience another poor harvest as government dismally failed to support small holder farmers that it intended to support.

In the current season, government intended to supply 81 000 metric tonnes of compound D fertiliser but only 47 percent of that was availed to farmers.

This came to 37 755 metric tonnes. Only 43 percent of the 80 000 tonnes of top dressing was made available to farmers.

Made annually perpetuates inaccuracies regarding crop production, and endangers the nation with fictitious crop output forecasts that have tragic consequences.

The former chief executive of the embattled Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (Arda) has churned out a plethora of pathetic excuses, laughable half-truths, outrageous misrepresentations and catastrophic lies about the status of Zimbabwe’s agriculture for over a decade.

What is surprising is that despite all his perennial miscalculations, misleading, and mismanaging the ministry, President Robert Mugabe continues to trust him — at the expense of the country.

To cover his farm manager’s shortcomings, Mugabe saw it fit to give Made two deputies — Paddy Zhanda and Davis Marapira — to handhold the minister at the expense of tax-payers’ money.

The agricultural sector, which used to be the backbone of this economy, has been in free-fall over the past 14 years as government implemented its arbitrary and chaotic land reform programme.

The programme has brought the formerly vibrant commercial agricultural sector to the edge of ruin as manifested through acute food shortages.

According to agriculture experts, production in general has tumbled by over 70 percent over the past decade with areas planted being drastically reduced.

The sector, which has the capacity to employ millions of Zimbabweans and can contribute over 30 percent to the country’s gross domestic product, remains in the intensive care unit thanks to Made’s inefficiencies and cluelessness.

The Agriculture minister — who has helplessly watched as new farmers continue to destroy Zimbabwe’s pride as the bread basket of the region — is floating and also does not know how to handle the key post but for some strange reasons Mugabe seems to have confidence in him.

The greatest undoing is the nationalisation of land by government under the unbankable 99-year leases, which farmers cannot use as collateral in securing loans from banks.

Farmers have no capacity to borrow and the uncertainty surrounding the land they have due to lack of title deeds, has compounded serious investment in the sector.

Zimbabwe which once exported food and was southern Africa’s bread basket is now a regional basket case. It’s actually a shame that a country like ours, with good arable land and ideal climatic conditions, continues to experience food shortages.

Last year, the country had to buy more than 300 000 tonnes of maize from South Africa and Zambia to avert food shortages, with the World Food Programme estimating that more than 2,2 million people are facing hunger.

Despite these imports, shortages of essential food stuffs continued and the country’s hospitals are full of children with starvation-related diseases such as kwashiorkor as one in four children below the age of five are malnourished.

Since Made took over the agriculture portfolio livestock production has tumbled to unprecedented levels.

Zimbabwe’s cattle herd declined from nearly seven million before the onset of the government’s land seizure drive in 2000, to just less than five million currently.

The sector used to provide employment for many but after the land reform programme, hundreds of thousands lost their jobs while at least one million people were displaced.

Justice for Agriculture Trust estimates that there were between 1,3 and 1,9 million farm labourers before the land reform programme.

We have a lot of brilliant people and seasoned farmers in Zimbabwe who can assist in turning around the fortunes of the agriculture sector.

It is our view that Made should either be fired or humbly resign, for the sake of agriculture, the economy and the people of Zimbabwe.

Comments (9)

Is this a royal "we" or what? You are purpoting to speak on behalf of who? Even those who are blind know that this year its a bumper haverst? You dont have to wait for Made to tell this. For a journalist this is pathetic.

godfrey gudo - 17 March 2014

Mr Gudo, is this your first time to read an editorial piece that you are surprised by the use of "we"?A re you sure bumper harvest Mr Gudo? We shall soon see.

Johno - 17 March 2014

Iwe the journalist is right, we need factual information based on expected crop yield reports not just estimates. Kuti mvura yakawanda hazvirevi kuti bumper harvest. The agriculture sector needs a lot of support in-terms of inputs, technical expertise, supervision, which our Made is a failure in that area.

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CARTRIDGEGALLERY - 17 March 2014

Mr. Made is a failure the whole team (ZANU PF) is useless.How many times have these people failed at home and abroad.DailyNews do a bit of digging and you will see that Made failed big time in the private sector as well, not only here in Zimbabwe but in the region.Check it out Daily News.

Roland Dube - 17 March 2014

This government does not want a people that are bellyful for they will have enough time to deliberate and interrogate failures of the regime, so they would rather starve them so that the people are preoccupied the whole time, with looking for survival kits for their families and have very little time to ever assess and discuss government activities. The Americans are the greatest nation because their president presides over the richest in the world like Bill Gates and Donald Trump to name a few, while our president prides himself for being the only millionaire in the country and being a president of hobos and those dying of hunger. Any leader without an agenda for the implementation of a holocaust on his people would never have given Made a second chance in his government due to his catastrophic failure. In fact his promotion would have been seeing the inside of a prison cell and doing time big tyme. One could be excused for praising Hitler, even though he butchered the Jews, for he aspired to see a great Germany. His deeds are unforgivable but he demonstrated the extreme love for his people something remotely existent in our dear leader. I'm sorry for the civil servants who shall reach another election date without realising a promised pay increase which was promised some eight months ago and keeps getting postponed. That's what these people are good at, promising. And we wait with bated breath for then promised arrest of the minister who demanded a bribe from an investor. I don't know how powerful and influential than Mbeki this investor is.

top heavy - 17 March 2014

There is no bumper harvest veduwe. Take a drive or walk across the farm land in Zim muzvionerewo. Lots land is lying idle and vakarima vacho vane ndima diki. Made has lied and am sorry kuti Zimpapers stable is helping to spread the lies too. Lets us wait and hear what he will say in 2/3 months, "Nyika haina chibage because of drought & sanctions". The Zimpapers articles were there to hoodwinks us into believing that Mugabe is generous by giving farmers ka10kg kembeu nebag rimwe reD fertilizer. Remember it is tax payers monies being abused by Mugabe and his office because of patronage pluz it is not audited by the auditor general. CRY the Beloved Zimbos!!! ARDA which used to produce maize and other crops in the1980/90s has gone down due to political meddling and abuse of equipment and resources by Zanu Pufuu-uu members especial Made, Mugabe, Msika, Chnamano nana Mushowe. Vaitora matractors nezvimwe uye kurimirwa neArda vasingabhadhare. Most of the managers at Mugabe's farms were pulled out of Arda by Made achisiya Arda yawira pasi. He still abuses Ardayo upto today iyo yagwadama. Basil Nyabadza, the Arda Chairman has worsened things at the company. He failed to run his Reapers company so Arda ozoigona. KoiyoCorruption zvayo, It is worse off mumaboards.

Tawa Zaru - 18 March 2014

Well if the writer had taken the time to investigating Made's statements he may have thought twice b4 writing this tosh article.,,,Stats from Farmers Organisations and Agric inputs companies contradict his claims.... Farmers organisations such as TIMB,ZFU,CFU say that we can expect in the region 0f 180million kg tobacco. Communal Farmers have planted over 2 million ha of cereals which should produce at least 1million t of maize from low end yield estimates. The Commercial crop is estimated at up to 400-600k t..So we expect at least 1.4 million to 1.8 million t of maize. Given domestic maize demand of btn 1.5million and 1.8 million t we and comparatively speaking this is a bumper harvest... In addition we expect good harvests in Sugar Cane,Cotton and horticulture. All this under Made's stewardship... If he is responsible when things go wrong why can't he be responsible when they go right as they seem to have this season?

wezhira wezhara - 18 March 2014

Actually the consumption for maize locally is 2 million tonnes. I also believe bumber harvest means excess...so if we did well this year it should be enough to feed the nation at most and there would be no excess for export. Mind u these figures include human consumtption 1.5 million to 1.8 million then additional 400 thousand to 8 00 thousand for livestock.Lets not confuse facts with politicking in politics maybe talk of bumber harvest considering that previously production was dismal but in reality at best we could feed the nation without imports but if we factor in livestock feed then we need to import maybe 500 thousand to 1 million tonnes to see us through the season. Winter wheat is no more near enough, cotton farmers are crying the price has not been gazzeted, in tobbaco farmers are crying....vast tracts of land still lie idle..

tonde - 18 March 2014

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