THE Zimbabwe Coffee Commodities’ Association has approached government demanding repossession of its coffee farms that have allegedly been run down by top Zanu PF officials.
Association chairperson Silas Simango told NewsDay in Mutare yesterday that they were demanding a land audit to identify under-utilized coffee farms grabbed by the ruling party’s elite.
“Coffee production in the country has fallen to such alarmingly low levels. We want the government to revisit the land reform and identify those coffee farms that were allocated to some resettled farmers. The truth of the matter is that the farms are idle and there is absolutely nothing productive,” he said.
“It is our plea to President (Robert) Mugabe to consider this issue. Those people who were resettled on coffee farms are tarnishing the image of the President. It is disaster in the former coffee farms. The former farms resemble a cemetery. There is great need to revive coffee production that can boost our economy.”
Simango said the few coffee growers that were currently producing should be assisted with government-subsidised inputs.
“We need the inputs subsidised. As of now, coffee growing in Zimbabwe is pointless. Imagine a 50kg bag of fertilizer is $36 and the same bag is $15 in Kenya,” he said.
Simango said Zimbabwe used to produce 15 000 tonnes of coffee per year before the land reform program, but production levels had plummeted to a measly 500 tonnes per year.
BY CLAYTON MASEKESA
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