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Zimbabwe farmers turn to Nigeria

November 20, 2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When white Zimbabwean farmer Irvin Reid arrived in Nigeria almost five years ago, he was given a set of grid references in the remote bush and told to find water and build a new farm.

His dairy farm now has 300 Jersey cows, some of among 800 imported from South Africa to start cattle farms in the region.

It’s a sharp contrast to things back in Zimbabwe, where campaigners say farmers face their worst year ever.

Reid was one of 13 white farmers invited with their families to Nigeria in 2005 after land seizures in Zimbabwe — which President Robert Mugabe says are necessary to correct the legacy of colonialism — stripped them of their livelihoods.

Farmers from South Korea, Kuwait and the United States have also arrived in Kwara state, which is keen to attract more investors and help Nigeria end its import reliance.

Hoping Zimbabwe’s loss might be its gain, Nigeria gave each farmer 1,000 hectares of land under a 25-year renewable lease in Shonga, the hub of the state’s commercial agriculture project.

Less than five years on, 80 percent of the land is under cultivation and the farmers have asked for  more.

“We arrived to virgin bush. We were basically just given GPS points, told to mark them out, clear the bush and find water, build the house, build the sheds, and import cattle,” Reid said.

“It was right from the grassroots and it was fun. We all lived in tents for a while,” he told Reuters Africa Journal.

Hundreds of tonnes of cassava, maize and soya beans are harvested for both local consumption and export markets.

Residents of Shonga were initially apprehensive when the Zimbabwe farmers first arrived. But that has changed.

Local government officials say the large-scale farming has increased local food supply, brought new skills to local farmers and triggered the emergence of new agricultural industries.

Kwara state’s commissioner of agriculture said 15 new commercial farms had been developed in addition to the 13 at Shonga and that 3,000-4,000 people had found work in the Shonga farms alone.

Nigeria’s agricultural sector has taken a back seat since the country started producing oil more than five decades ago.

The Shonga farms are jointly financed by Nigerian banks, but, with the global credit crunch forcing banks to tighten their lending criteria, access to long-term funds has been difficult.

Nigeria has set aside 200 billion naira to aid commercial farming although the funds have not been forthcoming, slowing down work and potentially affecting next year’s crop.

But the problems have not deterred other investors from streaming into Kwara. One group from Syria is clearing 600 hectares for poultry farming alone.

Comments

This is probably the attitude every African country presently needs to help them solve their food issues. It’s such a pity that some can only believe the worst of white farmers. They work exceptionally hard and really contribute to employment, lifestyles and the economy. Which is why it’s so sad to see farms deteriorating once they are ‘taken back’. How is it that local people don’t seem to understand the sheer labour that farm work takes? I’ve never known a good farmer to sleep late or to be half-hearted about his stock or crops. I wish all these farmers well and congratulate those governments that offer them ‘dirt’ to work with. Their investment, even more in trust than in finances, will be well rewarded!

Posted by Mo Haarhoff | Report as abusive
 

It completely boggles my mind that while the need to produce food on a large scale is an essential requirement for the future survival of all humankind, vast amounts of fertile soil has already been made unproductive by this demonic urge to re-distribute the land into the hands of unqualified farmers. When will the Blackman in Africa start realizing that White farmers have an inborn quality to transform unproductive land into fruitful soil? The Blackman has his own unique talents, — too many to list here! But when we point out that he does NOT have the ability to farm on a large scale, we’re labelled as white racists!Many black folk will perceive my article, “Adam the Farmer” as another racist attack on their integrity, but it is not! The time has come that we must bury the misunderstandings of our past, and respect the fact that we all have unique talents. Peace and prosperity in Africa will only be achieved once we learn how to combine our respective talents for the benefit of all humanity.http://tia-mysoa.blogspot.com/2 009/11/adam-farmer.html

 

HaarhoffNovember 24th, 20096:27 am GMT It completely boggles my mind that while the need to produce food on a large scale is an essential requirement for the future survival of all humankind, vast amounts of fertile soil has already been made unproductive by this demonic urge to re-distribute the land into the hands of unqualified farmers. When will the Blackman in Africa start realizing that White farmers have an inborn quality to transform unproductive land into fruitful soil? The Blackman has his own unique talents, — too many to list here! But when we point out that he does NOT have the ability to farm on a large scale, we’re labelled as white racists!Many black folk will perceive my article, “Adam the Farmer” as another racist attack on their integrity, but it is not! The time has come that we must bury the misunderstandings of our past, and respect the fact that we all have unique talents. Peace and prosperity in Africa will only be achieved once we learn how to combine our respective talents for the benefit of all humanity.http://tia-mysoa.blogspot.com/2 009/11/ad am-farmer.html- Posted by Tia Mysoa*********************************** **********YES!It’s all good now that these white Farmers are being welcomed with open arms into Nigeria, and Tis Mysoa sees all these unique qualities we all have as races of people.I must also ask Tia about that unique quality that has made the America Indian regret the day he let Columbus land on the Continent and go back alive, or those Aryans who were welcomed with open arms in south africa where they latter instituted APARTHEID.Just a few examples here.Would the current working together as races of people bring to Nigeria’s future, the same problem these other mentioned places have experienced?Just a thought.We all know

Posted by Riot5000 | Report as abusive
 

Comments like the above do not help. Africans do not need ‘tongue-in-cheek’ comments. Yes, a country like Nigeria has decided to step in to help white farmers and their bothers in other African countries to avert some very disturbing land issues, so please lets leave it at that. Your comments are simply unhelpful.

Posted by tewin2x | Report as abusive
 

I am a Nigerian and do not have any problem with the Zimbabwean farmers or other foreign investors coming to do business in the Country, as long as they play by the rules. I will also stress that the farmers must not be allowed to monopolise the food industry so as not to create artificial food crises inorder to hike prices. Good and effective regulation is the solution.

Posted by Alex | Report as abusive
 

I choose to ignore some of the earlier comments made and instead pose a question:what happens if Nigeria cooses to kick the farmers out and repose their farms after they are made solvent?While admittedly I know next to nothing of African Goverments I do know a bit about corruptions in human nature. Call me a cynic.I am happy to hear that Nigeria is seeking to make advancements in supplying their countrymen with food by importing the people to force agricultural development and would ask the pursers to loosen their strings in aiding worthwhile developments.

Posted by Fred Van Atta | Report as abusive
 

Riot5000 As a native of North America I don’t want you speaking for me. If you believe NA Native people want to live the way before Columbus arrived you are wrong.We want opportunities like anyone else.I think Alex who posted on November 27 said what I believe very well. Excellent comment Alex.We should work together and respect each other without ‘racist’ or ‘reverse racist’ values being encouraged.

Posted by buffalojump | Report as abusive
 

Zimbabwe’s lose is Nigeria’s gain, blame that useless Mugabe for this and the suffering of his people because he wants to hold on to power at all costs.

Posted by Nduka Tolefe | Report as abusive
 

agree with most of the comments here. well done to those farmers for not giving up in the face of adversity and well done to nigeria for having such an outward and pragmatic approach.interesting theory there from Riot5000. are we to assume then that you envisage problems with the koreans and the kuwaitis as well? or is it just the whites? do you forsee any difficulties with the huge chinese influx of people and investment in the continent bearing in mind their take on human rights? i’m sure the tibetans amongst others would probably agree with you.

Posted by Dave | Report as abusive
 

Around the 1300s and 1400s when Britain was probably the most backward country in Western Europe, the Italians developed their ship building industry, the Germans developed their mining sector and the Dutch helped them build roads and water works. Later around the 1700s and 1800s when Britain was pioneering the industrial revolution they helped Germans develop railroads while German engineers were going to Britain to learn how to build railroads. Political refugees from continental Europe like the Walloon,Lombards and Jews helped Britain develop their financial sector. Till this day Jews still power finance and banking in the west. Every developed country today has had to develop by using human capital from other nations. No one country knows or can do everything. Just like no race or individual is superior to another. Everything the west has to day was borrowed from different parts of the world then refined and adjustedHow easy and convenient it is to always look down or make racist comments about the black man even when history suggests otherwiseTia Myosa I urge you to pick up a book on international history and read. Instead of making ignorant comments about Africans it makes you look uncivilised

Posted by anioma | Report as abusive
 

not so long ago i was having a discussion with one of my brothers about outside help for nigeria.Meaning……..i was trying to explain that it would be good if nigeria could be working close with ppl from europe to build up some projects.i was surprised to see that they didn’t find it a good idea becoze nigeria doesn’t need the interference of the “white ppl” again.The above article just proved my point that together we can achieve so much more.as we say……..one love

 

It is a realy good news that the Nigerian government has given land to the white Zimbabweans for agricultural use and also the government is helping them financialy.From my own personal experience farm work is not an easy work.Being a farmer means working 48hrs a day ,7 days a week without rest.It needs capacity and patience.Lets hope that this white people will remain humans with time and respect the black people of Nigeria who have adopted them.Lets hope that with time they will not start to bring out their whiteness to the detriments of the Nigerians who are helping them to settle.

Posted by Akpan Paulinus | Report as abusive
 

am really happy to read about the success of these zim farmers in nigeria infact i have being following their success ever since they came to nigeria am happy that all is well with them and their farms i only have this word of advice for them if you wish to live in a foreign land and suceed forbid what your host forbids respect what they revere and honour that way you will never sufere any mishap

Posted by vikolo | Report as abusive
 

i enjoyed the article. i am new to the African ways but understand that any emerging country needs to have the basics first. The need to feed a workforce is paramont. If we cannot feed humanity, we cannot hope to advance. What are always needed are good plant source, advanced farming technique, water and good governance.

Posted by greenwood | Report as abusive
 

I would think these farmers were granted the land more on the basis of their experience, not the colour of their skin. Nigerians are capitalists, not racists (like some views in this thread).

Posted by esquire | Report as abusive
 

Aha! These white farmers are a leasing a 1,000 hectares piece of land for a period of 25 years. In southern Africa it is totally a different setup, one white farmer own land with average capacity of 3,000 hectares. He own it for life not for 25 years like in Nigeria. Private ownership is protected by Property laws.

If white farmers are prepared to lease land as big as 1,000 hectares for 25 years in Nigeria, why can’t those who own farms as big as 3,000 hectares in Namibia and South Africa give some hectares back to government for redistribution to the blacks and also turn their lifelong ownership of this land into lease agreement of 25 years? Surely, if they do that then these countries’ land reform efforts will not follow the Zimbabwe way.

Now the article say: “Nigeria has set aside 200 billion naira to aid commercial farming”. Why don’t the government use these billions to turn the local Shonga people in commercial farmers? Eish, our governments!!!

Posted by Himuvi | Report as abusive
 

alot of black central africans have a rich and original solid family base customs and culture.they also eat a seasonal local varied diet that is unrifined and perfectly nutrious apart from growing heart problems from some oils like palm.it puts our western diet to shame.the basics may be needing a commerciality to it but the vast magiority of these foods just need micro finance local market intergration and the entrprenirial spirit that each individual has if your family has been without food .a structure is already in place.maybe we should look at how they would like to increase it and we help them to make it more efficient.low inflation ,steady currencies and cheap transport and climate change are our obligations also we should stop stealing their fish !

Posted by phyrne | Report as abusive
 

“When will the Blackman in Africa start realizing that White farmers have an inborn quality to transform unproductive land into fruitful soil?”

While I do agree that the grabbing of land from White farmers and redistributing it to corrupt government officials is totally asinine, I have to laugh at the statement above (From Tia) Just because White people have traditionally been very successful at farming their vast colonially-acquired lands doesn’t mean its an inherent characteristic that a Black individual does not possess. Its like saying to watch out for inborn Nazi tendencies in Germans.

Posted by MimiK | Report as abusive
 

Asksimba.com is looking for columnists to write on issues relating to Africa or other topic’s, You don’t need to be a journalist, anyone is welcome, register at http://asksimba.com/article/

Posted by asksimba | Report as abusive
 

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