You are here:Home>National Assembly Hansard>Vol. 35>NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD - 18 JUNE 2009 VOL. 35 NO. 33

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD - 18 JUNE 2009 VOL. 35 NO. 33

PARLIAMENT OF ZIMBABWE

Thursday, 18th June, 2009

The House of Assembly met at a Quarter-past Two o'clock p.m.

PRAYERS

(THE DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair)

MOTION

ELIMINATION OF ABJECT POVERTY IN THE COMMUNAL AREAS

MR CHINYADZA: I move the motion standing in my name;

That this House;

SHOCKED by the level of abject poverty that perpetually assail the inhabitants of communal areas;

CONCERNED by the fact that 70% of the national population live in these poverty stricken areas and yet 95% of them have little or no income to meet their basic needs;

AWARE that past governments have perennially failed to economically empower communal dwellers preferring instead to issue food hand-outs;

EXTREMELY DISTURBED by policies of past governments, which concentrated on erecting social infrastructure whilst ignoring the critical role of productive investment in the development process;

ALARMED that economic dualism and the vicious cycle of poverty pervading the communal areas is being exacerbated by the persistent failure of the government to initiate policies and programmes to redress the same;

FURTHER AWARE that the combined effect of over-population, lack of economic opportunities, and poor incomes, have catalyzed a self-reinforcing process of environmental destruction in rural areas, in general, and communal areas in particular;

FURTHER CONCERNED by the deliberate indifference to the plight of communal people, and the parochial, puny and paternalistic policies enunciated by the institutions of government controlling the allocation of national resources;

NOW THEREFORE;

(i) Calls upon Government to put in measures to eliminate the abject poverty debilitating the communal areas;

(ii) Expresses its support for the initiation of policies and programmes aimed at eliminating the dual economic structure existing in Zimbabwe and to concomitantly integrate the communal areas into the modern economy; and

(iii) Requests the Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Investment Promotion to undertake an urgent in -depth study and analysis of the problem, and recommends comprehensive measures which will ensure the allocation of the requisite material and human resources needed to extricate communal areas from their state of underdevelopment.

MR. S. MOYO: I second.

MR. CHINYADZA: Madam Speaker, I stand to draw the attention of the hon Members of this House to the economic and financial strife experienced by people living in rural areas, in general, and communal areas, in particular. These people have no incomes, have no savings as their savings were gobbled up by banks and some of it disappeared with the Zim dollar. I am talking about people who cannot afford to buy a blanket, soap, salt, sugar, bread, matches, paraffin and clothes. I am talking about people who are unable to buy a pencil, exercise book or school uniforms for their school-going children.

I am also referring to people who cannot afford a dollar to pay for the milling cost of their bucket of maize. Madam Speaker, I am talking about people whose children are being excluded from attending class because they have no money to meet the $10.000 required for fees and $10.00 for examination fees. I am also talking about people who join queues to receive a bucket of maize to staunch their hunger and then be required to show their gratitude by voting for persons who ensured the availability of such food hand-outs. These people need our undivided attention and help.

I was born and bred in this impoverished environment and would therefore request each one of us here to engage in a process of introspection to assess to what extent we have contributed to this sorry state of affairs. I am going to be very critical of certain policies and programmes, not for any political gain, but merely to expose issues in the hope that this will help us focus on the real issues which explain the current levels of poverty in the communal areas and hence on how the problem can be addressed.

Population densities

Madam Speaker, according to the latest National Population Census (2002), Zimbabwe had a population of over 11,6 million of which 35% is urbanized and the remainder rural. Of the rural population, about 73% of it lives in the communal areas.

 

COMMUNAL

OTHER RURAL

NATURAL REGION

% RESIDING IN THE AREA

POPULATION DENSITY PERSONS/KM2

%PERSONS LIVING IN THE AREA

PERSONS/KM2

 

I &II

23%

85

56%

18

 

III

25%

47

24%

11

 

IV

33%

24

13%

8

 

V

19%

21

7%

5

 
               

- 23% of communal persons live in natural regions 1 and 2 with the highest and most reliable rainfall and a population density of 85 people per Square kilometre. This compares poorly with 55% of other rural dwellers residing in the same natural regions and a population density of merely 18 persons per square kilometer.

- 25% in natural region 3 with a population density of 47 people per square kilometer and comparative figure of 24% with a population density of 11.

- 33% in natural region 4, with a population density of 24 people per square kilometre compared with 13% and 8 people per square kilometre in other rural areas.

- 19% in natural region 5 with a population density of 21 people per kilometer compared with 7% and a population density of 5 in other rural areas.

This implies that the population density for the natural resources available is excessive for all regions inhabited by communal people. Hence there is need for policy intervention.

PRODUCTION STATISTICS

MEAN MAIZE PRODUCTION: TONS/HA

NATURAL REGION

COMMUNAL

LARGE SCALE COMMERCIAL

OTHER

I & II

1.96 tons/ ha

4.90 tons/ha

2.48 tons/ha

III

1,62 tons/ ha

3.82 tons/ha

1.90 tons/ha

IV

1.00 tons/ ha

3.71 tons/ ha

0.98 tons/ ha

V

0.73 tons/ ha

3.26 tons/ ha

0.96 tons/ ha

- Maize productivity is 2,5 times higher in Large Scale Commercial Farming than in communal areas for regions 1 and 2 and two times higher than Small Scale Commercial Farming and Resettlement areas.

- Maize production is 2,4 times higher in Large Scale Commercial Farming areas than in communal areas in region 3 and two times as much for Small Scale Commercial Farming and Resettlement areas.

- It is 3, 71 times higher in region 4 of Large Scale Commercial Farming than communal and 4 times for the other areas.

- It is 4, 5 times higher in region 5 of Large Scale Commercial Farming than communal areas and 3,4 in the other areas.

We are all aware of the variability and unreliability of rainfall as we move from natural region 1 and 2 to 5. Hence these statistics attest to the importance of investment in water conservation, farm equipment and technology as well as soil types and access to inputs in the agricultural production process.

EFFECT OF FERTILIZER USAGE ON PRODUCTION

CROP Communal LSCF SSCF Resettlement

 

Comps kg/ha

AN kg/ha

Comps kg/ha

AN kg/ha

Comp kg/ha

AN kg/ha

Comp kg/ha

AN kg/ha

Maize

36

42

370

400

149

100

99

96

Cotton

20

7

350

153

80

26

50

29

Sorghum

14

15

250

175

50

50

40

50

Groundnuts

5

0

300

0

25

0

10

0

Virginia tobacco

375

50

700

75

375

50

350

50

Communal Area

SSCF

Resettlement

Crop

Compound

AN

Compound

AN

Compound

AN

Maize

10%

10,5%

40%

25%

27%

24%

Cotton

0,5%

4,5%

23%

17%

14%

19%

Sorgum

6%

8,6%

20%

29%

16%

29%

V/tobacco

50%

67%

50%

67%

50%

67%

               

I would also want to make comparison on the issue of usage of inputs in as far as they relate to the various farming sectors- Communal, Small scale and Resettlement areas. My discovery in as far as maize production in communal areas is concerned, you will find that productions compared to the large scale commercial farming sectors, the utilization of compound fertilizers is about 10% of the actual figure that is usable in the large scale commercial farmer. For the small scale, it is about 40% and resettlement areas about 27% and the figures of the other crops are almost the same the worst being in cotton. For communal areas, it is about half percent of the utilization for compound fertilizers and four and half percent of the volumes that are used on a per hector basis in the large scale commercial farms.

This means communal area farmers are utilizing far much less fertilizer than those applied by commercial areas. This obviously implies that the low production levels recorded in communal areas and other areas outside the large scale commercial farms is due, in the main, to low applications of fertilizers. This is obviously due to perennial shortages of working capital need by these farmers. This unfortunately translates into low or no incomes.

 

FARMING EFFICIENCY ANALYSIS

Madam Speaker, biological efficiency is a measure of the extent to which biological potential of the environment is being exploited. It is expressed as a percentage of the actual performance to potential productivity for any given physical environment.

BIOLOGICAL EFFICIENCY % FOR RAINFED

MAIZE PRODUCTION (1987/88 - 1990/91)

Natural Region

Communal Area

LSCF

SSCF

Resettlement

I &II

33

82

43

41

III

34

88

40

40

IV

23

84

24

22

V

8

82

21

36

When you look at biological efficiency achieved on rain fed maize production for the years 1987/88 up to 1990/91 and when you compare these by natural regions, we find that biological efficiency for communal areas are very depressed. With communal areas you get about 33% for Regions 1 and 2 whilst large scale commercial farms are around 80 and the small scale in resettlement areas around 40%.

The figures are even worse off for regions 4 and 5 where figures of around 23% and 8% respectively are obtainable as compared against figures of around 82% for the large scale farming community. The extremely high biological efficiencies which one obtained in large scale commercial farms can, inter alia, be attributed to a better use of inputs (agricultural-chemicals), appropriate high yielding hybrid seeds, production efficiencies emanating from timely planting, weeding, fertilization, pest and disease control.

Special attention should also be accorded to the fact the biological efficiency for maize grown under irrigated environments in communal areas is 62%, a figure that is 2,3 times higher than that achieved by communal farmers under rain fed conditions. This statistic attests to the importance of productive investment and its positive impact on incomes and welfare of the beneficiaries of such investments.

ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION

Over 90% of the severely eroded lands in Zimbabwe are in communal areas. The major causes of environmental degradation in these areas include, but certainly not limited to, the inordinately high human and livestock population densities, deforestation, intensity of land utilization and lack of accountability in the exploitation of communal resources.

With respect to livestock, the communal areas have always been described as over stocked in relation to their carrying capacities. This is the result of land tenure systems which confers ownership of resources to all and consequently no one takes responsibility for good husbandry.

In fact, because of this, more deforestation has occurred in communal areas as compared to other areas due to both population pressures and the tenurial systems. The increasing demand of fuel wood and arable land continues to exacerbate these environmental problems. Naturally, the puerile efforts made by government in this area have created a worsening environmental crisis and has further strengthened the vicious cycle of poverty debilitating these areas.

SOIL LOSS

The low average production yields achieved in these areas also catalyst soil loss. This is because plant growth is lower and this provides less cover and protection to the soil as well as lower returns of organic matter both through the root system and surface material. It is estimated in the Rukuni Report that at the current rate of soil loss, the current yields could be sustained for only 36 years in the small holder sectors. As a result, that report concludes that structural changes are needed to contain the soil loss problem in communal areas. In view of the fact that land is a finite resource, increasing farm size to allow conservation efforts by individual farmers is not an option, new strategies based on enhanced and sustained investment into productive infrastructure like irrigation facilities in communal areas is inescapable if we are to arrest the accelerated environmental destruction and its attendant but heightened human suffering.

PRIMATE CITY PROBLEM

A study of the population statistics of the country reveals that Harare has accentuated its primate city status over the years. A primate city, is one in which the one or two major cities house more than 70% of the population. As a result, it becomes a parasitic city which derives its growth from the death or non growth of other urban centres in the country.

As the 2002 Census shows, Harare and its dormitory centers house over 54% of the country's urban population, whilst the next biggest, Bulawayo houses only 20% of that population. The other centres pale into the periphery with Mutare 5%, Gweru 4%, Kwe-Kwe 4%. Hon members may be at a loss as to why these statistics are relevant in the discussion of the day. It is an incontestable fact that people are migrating in their numbers from Communal areas into Harare under the misguided perception that there is a better livelihood in Harare. As a result the deluge of people moving into these areas creates untold pressure on installed urban infrastructure. In order to mitigate the adverse impact of these problems control and local Government are forced to allocate inordinate sums of money not only to house these immigrants but also to invest in social infrastructure for an otherwise unproductive migrant population. Yet, investment in productive infrastructure at source would have reduced the flood of immigrants, created income to the rural poor, enhance the revenue base of central government and improve the return in government investment. Most cities world wide grow because there is an economic base upon which they derive their incomes and growth inputs.

Because of the dual economy existing in Zimbabwe and the absence of an efficacious policy to integrate the rural areas into the modern economy, there exists very week and tenuous economic links between our urban centres and their hindrance. As a result, this dejection in economic and financial linkages are exacerbating the dualism we have and communal economies remain largely subsistent and poverty becomes the order of the day. It is therefore sad that Zimbabwe in general and communal areas in particular continue to be left behind in the development process due to the ineptitude of policy makers.

In conclusion, I am calling for a paradigm shift in our economic policies and strategies. I am urging policy makers to concentrate their efforts in crafting programmes which lead to the economic emancipation and empowerment of the majority of our people. We have a crisis in our hands and it is incumbent on every member of this House to ensure that the plight of the poor and the marginalised now assumes centre stage.

Whilst we are aware that the economic malaise obtaining in communal areas was deliberately designed to impoverish blacks by the colonial government, the advent of independence which gave so much hope to these areas has done little to change their economic and financial status. Whilst recognition should be accorded to the quantum of investment that went into social infrastructure after independence, it must also be accepted that erecting schools, clinics and roads in these communal areas in the absence of complementary programmes to make them functional is not development at all. Furthermore the paternalistic and patronage policies followed where agricultural inputs were allocated to a select few in no way substitutes for the need for cash required to purchase basic goods critical for their sustenance. The rural folk need cash to buy pencils, books, drugs, clothes, soap, salt, sugar, bread and blankets.

Mr Speaker Sir, if a medical practitioner prescribes an under dose for the treatment of a malady, we all know that the patient will not recover. In the same vein I will call upon all those persons who are privileged to allocate national resources not to do it perfunctorily but to ensure that sufficient inputs are distributed to all who need them and that adequate investment is earmarked to all rural communities to enable them to emerge from their state of penury.

I seek the support of all hon members of this House in drawing the attention of policy makers in government to commit themselves materially and otherwise to meaningful productive investment in communal areas.

MR S. MOYO: Thank you Madam Speaker. Ten years ago, if you walked around the rural areas in all the districts of the country you would pass through a vibrant little place somewhere in the rural areas and most of these places would be the rural growth centres at that time. Ten years ago as you drove and walked around those areas you would find NGOs infrastructure and some rural technology centres. Ten years ago some time in August and September you would hear of some programmes called rural shows that showcased products from rural areas and from little industries that were starting to grow there.

Within the ten years that have gone past there have been political and economic disturbances in Zimbabwe but mostly affecting the rural areas. Over this period a lot has happened in the rural areas that has moved the people and a lot has happened that has retarded the growth point and rural service centres that used to be vibrant at that time. You find that there is no longer so much of entertainment that goes on out there and hence the movement from rural areas to urban centres to look for such things.

Today, as a result of these things I am talking about you find that there is high poverty levels in rural areas and in the cities as well. Today as you go into rural areas you will find that most of the infrastructure has collapsed. A lot of us who invested a little bit in rural areas have de-invested in those rural areas and as a result of all this there is generally shortage or lack of basic goods and services in rural areas. If you live in rural areas and need basic commodities you have to board a bus to the nearest town to buy these things. The buses are not cheap as a result of the collapse of rural industries and rural service centres. Our people in rural areas are forced to pay for the bus before

our people. Madam Speaker in support of this motion I think all is not lost and I am sure that a lot can be done by all of us here. I believe now that we have an all inclusive government that has a potential to create a new environment of us going back to our rural areas. There is some kind of possibility and opportunity for us to revive those industries and infrastructure that have been destroyed during the period I mentioned above. I think it is time that this House and government start to formulate policies that will serve the people and address the challenges faced by people especially in rural areas.

This House must formulate laws that will unlock the potential that we find a lot of mining sections that are dotted all over the country. If we can find ways of taking away restrictions that you find when you want to invest and develop deposits that are all over the country; that would be helpful. We need to find a way just to unlock that and use mining as a key economic driver for the development activity or investment in rural areas so that we not only create jobs but services closer to the people and also allow our children to work in these mining ventures and they can access some skills that are offered by the various mining ventures.

I think we need to find a way of doing away with restrictions that are imposed by some of the pieces of legislation that need to be reviewed so that we unlock that value. We need laws for individuals targeting in terms of supporting our people in rural areas. The former speaker referred to the issue of cash that is required in rural areas to buy these things that he referred to. I agree with that and I think there is need for government to do more of targeted cash transfer so that those of our people who need government support can receive it in form of cash so that, that cash can stimulate a bit of activity in those rural areas and attract investors

We need as a government, to channel some of the funds from central government directly to people at constituency level in local authorities and encourage our local authorities especially funds for investment to encourage our local authorities to develop investment promotion centres within each of the local authorities so that they can promote business investment in various districts of the country. There is need for rural investment and rural infrastructure that will stimulate investment from outside the communal areas that I am talking about. Investment for example, in post banks in various district authorities, investment in community radios and community newspapers that can promote investment opportunities in the various communities where they operate from.

I think there is also need to invest in cultural centres in the various parts of the country and efforts to promote tourism which is one of the key drivers of the Zimbabwean economy. We can encourage our people in various communities to get into those community tourism project that would attract a lot of tourists and create jobs and bring in some kind of cash for our people. There is need for those looking for investment opportunities to start thinking of investing in factory shells in rural areas that will be used by people who would want to go into small industries in the various parts of the country. There is need for some investment into entertainment programmes in rural areas so that we can provide some kind of entertainment for those of our people who live in rural areas. Right now there is the soccer event which is going on in South Africa and a lot of our children out there in the rural areas would like to see the stars of the world and maybe emulate some of them and use sport as a way of earning a living.

Right now Zimbabwe is gearing up for the World Cup 2010 and a lot of communities along the Beitbridge and Mozambican boarder are close to where things will be happening. Because of the transfrontier park programme, a lot of our people will benefit from programmes that will show what is going on and we can help them by providing some of the facilities.

Finally, Madam Speaker I am in support of this motion and would like to call on the committee of Budget, Finance and Investment Promotion to look at the various pieces of documents that exist in a lot of offices and universities including University of Zimbabwe that have been produced in terms of promotion of industry and rural development specifically and benefit people that live in the rural areas so that at the end of the day, the Committee will come up with complete recommendations for this House to consider so that we can take decisive decisions to make sure that we support policies that will benefit our rural folk. I hope that that Committee would do this as soon as possible so that we deal with these challenges that face our people in rural areas as soon as possible.

MR DZIRUTWE: I would like to thank the mover of this motion. I was born in the rural areas and I enjoy both living and going there. I would like to start with the pre-Independence scenario. When I was a small boy, we were compelled by the administration to do some programmes which at that time we did not understand but only did them under duress. We were made to make contour ridges, we only realized years later that it was important when the soil was preserved.

After Independence, there was a euphoria of independent people - we were doing things for ourselves. We planted trees for reforestation and built bridges until, as the last speaker has just said, it somehow came to a halt. In the early 80s there was the initial stage of land redistribution and I remember that it was small scale farmers not A2. It was at that time that the concept of giving our farmers some inputs started; for them to start all over from where they had been relocated. When the land distribution programme extended, the inputs were then given to people who were able to fund their own farming activities. In some cases there was no machinery allocated but in some cases the machinery was there.

Production of maize from the communal areas was 70% and cotton was 60%. With the way we have decided to do things, we gave the impression that giving inputs was the order of the day yet it was supposed to be to those who were relocated to new areas to get them started. It then became politicized that people would get inputs whether they were A1 or A2 farmers - that is now water under the bridge. Since Independence to about 1990, from my home area in Mutasa, government helped initiate programmes like coffee growing in the Manga and Honde areas. The people there…..

Cellphone rings.

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order. There is an hon member on my left whose cellphone is ringing. Would that hon member switch off his cellphone or leave this House. You are disturbing the debate. Carry on hon member.

MR DZIRUTWE: The project was ideal in empowering our communal people. Unfortunately, the institution that was supposed to buy the coffee somehow failed to purchase the coffee. Eventually, those coffee plants were turned into firewood. The idea is not to apportion blame but to look ahead. We are an Inclusive Government and we should take collective responsibility. The way forward would be to make concerted efforts to reintroduce some programmes that have been started. There was a communal programme were the people were allowed to look after wild life in their area - we need to continue with this on a larger scale.

Chimanimani is an area that is well known for growing pineapples. The only problem that is faced is that if too much is produced, there is no market. The inclusive government should encourage more growing of this fruit and also look for the market.

I have also been to Nkayi, there is a potential that wood can be processed into furniture there. In Mutoko, there are vast plantations of mangoes and I think we as a government encourage more people in Mutoko to grow more mangoes and encourage someone to process the mangoes into juice. I have not been to many parts of Zimbabwe but when I move around, I see opportunities. The onus is on government to encourage those with money to set up these kind of businesses. When someone wants to invest in a communal area, what comes to his mind is a bottle store. We need to think further than that.

In terms of investment, we need to encourage banks to lend money to the rural people. It is the problem in Bangladesh, they found out that rural people tend to be more honest than urbanites. If you lend US$1 000.00 to someone in the rural areas, 95% of the chances are that he will pay you back. They do not need much. Some of our colleagues who have found their foot in terms of commercial farming, if one tractors is given to a village, I can assure you that they can produce much more than the commercial farmer will do. They do not use a lot of fertilizer, they use manure. My old man used to say if you use too much fertilizer in the field it damages the soil. I do support the motion raised by my colleague.

THE MINISTER OF SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES AND CO-OPERATIVE DEVELOPMENT: I would like also to add my voice to the motion and thank the hon. members for bringing such an important topic. I think from what the movers of the motion have said, it is very clear to us that we need as a nation not just as a House to look at the causes of poverty.

Madam Speaker, when Hon. Moyo was romantically going back to what the rural areas were, I am sure all of us went back to where we were growing up and maybe 10 years ago. I think the big question we need to ask ourselves is what caused that. What causes poverty? Unless we understand that, we will go round and round, we will repeat the mistakes or we will repeat what happened. So it is very important that we do not just debate this motion in terms of what is and what was but also in terms of what caused it and therefore what do we as hon. members and as leaders of this nation need to do. We need to put programmes in place. Let me just foster one cause that I think we need not to grapple but we need to understand and really make sure that we understand and we take responsibility and ensure that it does not happen again.

Poverty is an integrated evil. It is not only an absence of material goods, but poverty is a reflection of the breakdown of the social fabric of a nation. It is also a reflection of breakdown of relationships. This is why we have dualism because when a nation relates in terms of those, others and I, dualism begins. Therefore, we need to say to ourselves, Zimbabwe is a great nation, Zimbabwe has resources, Zimbabwe has a people that are resilient, hard working and creative. This is why despite all what we have gone through, we have managed to remain on our feet. What eroded the gains that we had made since independence was the breakdown in our relationships as people, leaders, parties and groups. Therefore, if we are to correct this, we need to embrace the inclusiveness that we have started through the inclusive government. We need to embrace it and say what is it that we as individuals are doing to cause poverty among our people. What are we as groups doing to cause dualism in our people. I want to agree with the members that it is very very important for us to take into account poverty levels and do something about them for our people.

Madam Speaker, no nation in the world can be called developed as long as the majority of its people at the bottom of the pyramid are poor. All of us can acquire as much wealth as we can but if you step out of your house or out of your empire, you are called poor because of the rural people that we left behind. It is very important that we as leaders embrace this concept. However, in talking about the past that has happened, that was good. Let me also add my voice in some of the good things that we must embrace and build on them. I think we will all agree that the rural areas in Zimbabwe today have been experiencing the greatest and most comprehensive transfer of means of production. You know economic development will not take place unless you equip a people to think for itself and to create wealth for themselves. Unless you transfer or give them the means of production, they will think and think, create and create on paper but when you come down to reality, they will not do it. Let us face it that in Zimbabwe, the Land Reform programme has done a lot to our people. A lot of Zimbabweans have gained through the Land Reform. The Land Reform has revolutionised the means of production. Hon. members, let me just quote from from Mann Dany one writer, to support my point. He wrote to the London Review of Books in December 2008 and let me quote what he said in his article, ' Zimbabwe has seen the greatest transfer of property in Southern Africa since colonialism and it has all happened extremely rapidly. Redistribution, revolutionalised property holding adding more than three hundred thousand small owners to the base of the property pyramid'. That is a big figure, I am sill quoting, 'in social and economic if not political terms this was a democratic revolution. He goes on to say there was a heavy price to pay for this as Zimbabweans and we owe the heavy price we have to pay - sanctions' - but hon. members forgot now to mention that the gains that we made soon after independence, we also added more in terms of transforming property, loans and means of production to the hands of Zimbabweans.

Apart from that the handouts that they talked about , I totally agree that when you run a nation from handouts, you are really using a tool to sit them into further poverty because handouts and charity have never developed any country. In fact, there is this new book which I want to encourage every member here to read which was written by Dambisa Moyo which is talking about dead aid. It is saying if countries were to stand and pick the resources they have and build with those resources, no African country will go out to ask for aid. We are asking for aid because we have been conditioned to receiving handouts, that is why I agree with this motion that we need to cut the handouts and make sure that we embrace this means of production that is now in the hands of our people.

Also to support my point, hon. members would agree that this year the production of our people have gone up. If only we have enough inputs, seed and fertiliser, over three hundred thousand poor people now have land. So we need to be very careful that when we talk about poverty we are not talking about poverty in isolation, but it is something that will be ended when we empower people to be economically viable, that is why I support the hon. members and I hope we can take that seriously.

I want also to address the situation of dualism. It starts in our offices with the policy makers because we plan for the elite, plan for the towns, for the industrialised areas and also plan small for our rural areas. Because we do that, they will also begin to think small, act small and benefit small. I think we need to make policies that will indeed like what the motion is saying let us get rid of the dualism. You will find that even among us as members, we will go all over asking for donations for our constituencies. If we ask for small donation handouts for our constituencies we must stop that as leaders and also as policy makers. I want to foster some solutions to this, in my ministry of the SMEs you will find that a lot of SMEs they will be said to benefit from appropriate technology, what does that mean? It means that there will be a small machine that women put in the kitchen for grinding peanut butter, for pressing cooking oil; why can we not put big machines for that woman in the rural area to press cooking oil for the whole village? Why should we advocate for small for rural areas, big and proper for the people in towns.

Madam Speaker, in the Ministry we have a programme for INDO Zimbabwe, we have provided machines in Harare, Chitungwiza, Bulawayo and some of the 34 machines are going to growth points. The one which will be in Chitungwiza will be the same as the machine in Mberengwa or Mvuma, so that the mentality of the people in rural areas start changing. They must start thinking they are being taken seriously, and they can manufacture big because they use big machines. Until and unless we change that mentality our rural people will be marginalised. This time not by anyone from outside but by policies that we made. With those few remarks Madam Speaker I just want to support the motion.

MR MADZIMURE : Madam Speaker, I am persuaded to make my contribution to the motion, initially I thought we were going to remain very focused and concentrated on the information given by the mover, but I can see that we always forget where we are and how we got there. I would want to start off by referring members to the partial distribution. It talks of 28% where we have 20% enjoying 80% of the country's wealth, that is the situation in which we are today. Even as when we were distributing land we reinforced the theory that only 20% but in our case it is now 10% that enjoy.

When I talk of transfer of property to the people of Zimbabwe, I stand to be corrected, I come from the rural background, I come from a village and I have several villages around my village. Madam Speaker what I have noticed over the years, especially the period 2000 and now is that the rural areas continously become more and more conjested. The distribution we are talking about - we have continuously given land to those who have benefited and we now several multiple farm owners in Zimbabwe. It is more than what we have before land re-distribution, more than what we have before the whites. So as far as the transfer of property is concerned, it is the same bourgeois who have gone out there to get the farm house and that is exactly where our problem is.

In Zimbabwe what we are doing is increasing the number of poor people in our land. We have even distributed more seed, more fertilisers to that 10%. I come from the rural area as I said and there is no one who received fertilisers as much as those in the 10%. So as far as the poverty is concerned we are deliberately entrenching poverty and the reason is very simple. In a situation where we have political polarisation and instability and like what we used to have a few days ago is that you would want the poor population to evenly increase so that you can manipulate them. That is what we have seen where we were distributing seed when we were going towards elections and the seed was distributed under a very difficult environment where that person can even use the seed and that fertiliser. That person spends most of the time attending rallies and that was disturbing the agricultural process in our land. Our mothers and fathers would go to the rallies from eight o'clock in the morning until five in the evening.

We have also forgotten that the social fabric that we are talking about has been destroyed by the politics in Zimbabwe, brother is turning against brother and all this is done by the 10% in Zimbabwe because they make sure they amass wealth and that they use the wealth that they remain entrenched in their offices or positions. There is some sort of myopic thinking in the minds of quite a number of people. Those people have also forgotten thatMurambatsvina increased poverty in Zimbabwe. The aftermath of Murambatsvina is there for all us to see. We are talking of poverty and Murambatsvina has caused poverty, it destroyed home industries. People have been allocated industrial stands and the same government that allocated them went back to destroy and that caused poverty. That also reduced the investors' confidence as well because the investor does not necessarily need to come from outside and as for me I am not investing. That is what causes poverty. In the rural areas we used to have various council employees and local government employees who used to mann our offices. Those are the people who organized what Hon Moyo was referring to, those people would give certain services to AREX . Due to the political instability the majority of those people, the professionals are from rural areas and what has happened in the rural areas, there is no-one left to supervise, to give advise to our local people. If people do not understand the effect of those things then appear we are living in a completely different world because the costs of the political instability are there for us to see - it is poverty.

Most of the activities that used to happen in the rural areas, there was no life in the evening , the growth points were quiet - the issue which we continuously refer to as the sanctions. I think people are still stressed up. I was here in Parliament when we debated the Zimbabwe Democracy Bill and we all agreed that we did not need the West, we need to look to the East and circumvent sanctions. We should not be seen on one hand to be talking about sanctions while on the other hand we are talking about re-engaging people. If the forecast is on re-engaging people lets do that. The rural people are not interested in the issue of sanctions. They want poverty alleviation programmes, they want those people to talk to them about how they can get out of the situation in which they are. Even My ambuya has now asked what this song about sanctions is all about.

It is very important that we remain focussed and go back to where we were before. We used to have programmes or projects where farmers would be grouped and allocated small stands for them to grow coffee. That was a noble idea and a very good idea. The selection process was so good because they would look at individuals who had experience in coffee production. I used to work for the Grain Marketing Board for ten years and we would engage those people. We had an ARDA project which was carried from Middle Save were farmers would be drawn from different areas and that selection criteria was simple. We used to have what we called Master Farmers. There were very good projects which were later on destroyed.

In the Save Valley those farmers who had been selected to take up land would produce enough wheat to even buy motor vehicles and tractors because their future was guaranteed. The pricing - as a business person they would plan and do their cash-flow and plan their yield and they would get what they had planned for the following year. What we need to do is to revisit these programmes and see where we are going wrong. What we must try to avoid using cheap politics to effect good ideas. There is nowhere in the world where a country has prospered...

An hon. member having passed between the member on the floor and

the Chair.

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order hon. member, you cannot go in between the member speaking and the Chair.

MR MADZIMURE: There is no harm in us revisiting these projects and say how can we empower our rural folk. We need to make available to them the fertilizers. We must make those commodities available in the shops so that people can buy on their own. I operate from a place where farmers sell tobacco. This year because they are getting hard currency, they are not waiting for anyone to distribute to them but they are buying their own things and fertilizers.

They are doing this at the same time as they get their money which is what any serious businessman should do. You plan for the future before you even deliver your tobacco. Like this time, it is almost predictable what they are getting because it is $4 per kg and they are happy with it. So these farmers are coming to Harare already prepared to purchase those inputs and implements. They are not interested in people promising them that they will bring seed and tractors from the RBZ. People do not want these things to be distributed to them. Zimbabweans, by nature, are hard working people, they do not want to be spoon-fed but to do things on their own. So let us give them the opportunity for them to prosper as individuals.

I heard Hon Raradza asking the Minister about the preparation for the next season. What the government should simply do is to put in place an environment that makes the farmer to farm. It is not the business of government to run around looking for tractors. It is a serious businessman who would want to sell tractors. It is a responsibility of these fertilizer companies to look for working capital to furbish their plants to produce more. We just have to make sure that the environment allows the business people to do exactly what they are supposed to do. Then the farmers will benefit by simply going to the nearest shop to buy.

When I grew up, my parents simply whilst they harnessed cattle for ploughing, a child is sent to shops to buy some fertilizers or seeds because it was readily available. That is why at that time it was possible to get almost 70% of maize from the rural folk rather than from the commercial farmers. That is why we built silos at Magunje and Murewa. So I strongly support Hon Chinyadza's motion which I think is very important if we are to alleviate poverty amongst ourselves.

MR HOVE: I would like to add my views to this motion. I was listening to the other previous speaker who alluded to the point that the transfer of property is equivalent to the transfer of wealth. I think that statement needs to be corrected lest some policy makers in future might want to rely on that paragraph from the recordings of the proceedings of this House. Property on its own can not produce wealth.

The point I am trying to make is, Zimbabwe is richly endowed with a lot of mineral wealth, yet its citizens are the poorest of the poor. There is wealth in the ground but we are not deriving any economic benefit out of it. The people who had acquired farms have become poorer than they were with the exception of those who have been continuously benefiting from the RBZ. Those are the people who have something to show off. I know of one farmer who when he visited his farm, because he has nothing, he was invited by his neighbour who had that day killed a kudu. So when this chap went there, he said can you give me the whole kudu so that I can go to show to my urban friends that I was at the farm.

I have nothing against people who are on the farms but what we want is to tell people the truth. It is these statements which have poisoned our policies when it comes to poverty. When we are formulating our policies to eliminate poverty, we should have policies which target poverty alleviation. They should reduce dishing out handouts and so create wealth. When you look at poverty reduction, those are the needs whereby people utilize thus they now empower themselves. It is not a sin if one can teach people the proper way of generating money because our people in rural areas need to be taught that it is not a sin and there is nothing wrong in engaging in activities that generate money.

The other point I would like to make is that I think I heard other hon members quoting the Bible, I would also want to do that. In the New Testament, there is a citation of a child of noble birth whose parents died. The writer said that the child was bequeathed with the parent's wealth without his knowledge. That child is no better than a slave and such is the case with us Zimbabweans because we have a lot of potential to be wealthy but we are not aware of it, therefore we remain poor. It is not because of sanctions but it is because of our thinking and ignorance. My humble submission is that if we were to come out of poverty I think the starting point should be with our thinking which needs national healing.

MR MATSHALAGA: Let me begin by congratulating the hon member for Makoni West for bringing this motion to this House. I think it is a very pertinent motion given the level of poverty prevailing in the country. It is a good motion though I feel that some of the words are too emotive but I do understand where he is coming from and his frustration for the lack of development in his area for such a long period.

My appeal to you is that we need a paradigm shift in order to address the anomalies. I think you have been talking about poverty and sometimes we talk rather carelessly or recklessly. I think we need to be more serious about poverty because there is poverty there where we come from and it is not something we can get used to. We are now getting into traps; be it a donors trap, new class trap, microeconomic trap, parliamentary trap or party trap and this is probably why we do not have a people centred development policy.

My appeal to you is that from now onwards given that we are now an Inclusive Government led by both parties we do not have the challenges that we used to have of the baggage of where you came from. We need to think seriously about addressing the issues of poverty and my first proposal is that the first item that we should do is to look at this budget and say this budget is the main instrument that addresses policy issues of government . Let us be serious and ask ourselves if the budget addresses poverty issues. This is what we should be able to do as members before we even think of our constituencies. If we look closely we will discover that we were looking merely at numbers and as to who benefits it is not easy to see but tended to be the urban areas. Thank you for bringing the issue of a dual economy. Yes, we did inherit it but it is not an excuse, neither should we continue romanticising the dual economy. We address these issues by talking about them and bringing them out but not stop acting on them.

How do we act on them now? If we look at the budget , audit and valuation of programmes there is no programme that has come up and said the programme in agriculture does not address issues of poverty or who benefits from inputs. This is exactly why we can not talk about corruption because most of these things - the tendency is that when we have input programmes, because the poor by their very nature are poor because they are poor in several ways. They are poor in terms of wealth endowment, in terms of access to information, they are poor in terms of transportation, they are poor in terms of skills and they need to be empowered by us but development has to start with them. It is the people who will develop and it is not you who will come with a baggage of inputs and expect development to come from yourselves.

We can not sit here and hope that by talking about development without doing something about it I think the challenge is that we should start as Members of Parliament. If you start doing certain projects are we investing in the rural areas? We will discover that we will be over investing in the urban areas. We need to make sure that when we look to these programmes as has already been pointed out, it is not lack of policy, we have had very well solid policies of rural development in this country. People may have misgivings about the land reform programme. It was an attempt to address social imbalances that are as a result of access to wealth. The biggest problem that we have in the rural areas is that there is no access to inputs. Give them the inputs our people are hard working. They did it in 1980 and what happened in 1980 is that the government had a proactive programme of supporting not only inputs like fertiliser but those inputs that are required including tillage and marketing services.

We had GMB when it was operating efficiently moving into the rural areas collecting grain and that is what we need. What do we need, we need to empower GMB to buy grain from our people. We have had liberalisation and everybody was clapping hands here but I am afraid that our poor people in the rural areas are not able to get alternative buyers of grain without being cheated. What happens is that we have big sharks from the urban areas including perhaps some of us here. They will go into the rural areas intending to barter a bucket of maize for one bar of soap. That is impoverishing the poor people of our constituencies. What we need in terms of marketing besides liberalisation is to ensure that the people in rural areas are sufficiently organised among themselves to ensure that they can not be cheated by whoever comes and exchange grain for sweets.

It is very painful that our mothers and fathers have spent months and months ploughing and breaking their backs and we have people who will come with 2 kgs of sugar for barter. Let us make sure that we educate our people in our constituencies that they should not under any circumstances exchange grain. Once they barter their grain like what is happening for tobacco they can be able to create some cash in order to buy some inputs and send their children to school. Ten years ago things looked bright, we should not shy away from the fact that we had political problems ten years from hence. We inherited serious political problems and this is why the whole of SADC and AU said you must all sit down and talk. By talking and getting a negotiated settlement it was to address some of the issues because in terms of the economy we were not growing. Thanks to the Inclusive Government we are now looking up. We understand growth might be between 2.8% to 4%.

Once we generate growth, our capacity to address poverty in rural areas will increase. I think the Hon Nyoni did refer to a trailblazing book by Danisa Moyo. She is a Zambian and she is simply saying there is no evidence whatsoever that aid has propelled development. Development comes from the people, those who come from outside can only assist you. It is like in the home, you can only be assisted by your father to marry or get married but when it comes to the consummation of the marriage, the bearing of children we must not shy away from our responsibility. It is our responsibility to ensure that the little resources that we have will be used for people oriented programmes. We should be able to question even in Budget Committee and say if we are going to have a programme are the rural people going to benefit?

Those of us who come from the Gender Committee understand that there is a concept called gender main-streaming or gender budgeting. What we need here in Parliament is to ensure that we mainstream rural development in all the budget items that we debate. Mr Speaker Sir, with these few words I rest my case on the motion.

MR MUDARIKWA : The mover of this motion happens to be my former teacher at Murewa High School. Whatever I will say is from my lectureship as my teacher. The situation in the communal lands is very terrible. Let us concentrate on the motion of poverty in the communal areas and leave out the issues of settlement, farms and everything because the problems that we are having in Harare is caused by poverty in the communal lands. People are running away from the communal lands into urban areas. The element of poverty is the inability to utilise resources around you for personal benefit but the good thing that has happened is that this motion is directed at the poor and you only set a thief to catch a thief. So we will succeed because we are in a team.

Loans available in the communal lands this year should go to Agribank. The explanation from Hon Chinyadza who has put it clearly that people have no capacity even to get a dollar for the grinding mill. The best thing that we must do is that we must give some tax rebates to banks and organisations offering loans to communal lands. The whole idea of financing the communal areas is that the GMB has no money. The long term plan is that there must be fertilisers and seed available to the communal farmers. We last saw an official from Agribank coming to a funeral He had nothing to do with issuing of loans to our people. Let us focus on this as a team. We can talk about what happened last year - we want what is going to happen in the next year. The people in the rural areas are not only denied the facility of getting loans but in my constituency, we do not even receive the radio signal. They are also poor in terms of information - [AN HON MEMBER: You listen to Studio 7]- Studio 7 does not talk about maize production, it is full of propaganda.

Our situation is unheard of because the whole of Zimbabwe we are sitting on gold. This is what we inherited from Munhumutapa. The whole of the Munhumutapa kingdom survived on gold and I am pleased to note that the new Ministry of Mines is in the process of developing gold panning and milling activities for the benefit of our people. This is something that we must look at because people in the rural areas can not live on agriculture alone, they must also benefit from mining minerals. These are natural resources and they should benefit from them - they belong to them. The process of registering a licence must not take seven years - I should just make use of the mineral for my benefit and then a national benefit and the whole situation develops. This whole thing about poverty in the communal lands has been a massive movement of money from the communal land to urban areas.

There were a lot of subsidies in the selling of maize - we should subsidise the farmer first before the consumer. Our 100 day plan must include a programme of assisting the communal lands people by having a mobile team moving around selling fertilizers and giving loans and establishing some small scale mines. The major problem why there is no development is that most of us here who represent communal lands are tourists there. They only go there for the purposes of establishing political power. They are not there for the purposes of servicing the communal folk. They are only there during election time. They do not want to be associated with the people in the communal lands. -[AN HON MEMBER: Inaudible interjection]- I do not sleep in Harare. I drive 250km………

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Hon member, please address the Chair.

MR MUDARIKWA: I drive 250 km to my constituency. Let us put our political differences aside. The people in the communal lands are our fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters - we want them to develop. We want everybody to enjoy visiting the communal lands. We once had a rural electrification programme going on - but now it is zero zero because most of the equipment has been vandalized.

My constituency supplies the Harare Market with more than 20% of the vegetables at Mbare Msika. Our major problems are associated with transport. The whole thing must be a chain where production, transport, marketing and everything should be in a smooth way.

Madam Speaker, I want to thank you for allowing me to talk today and also the members for listening to me. This should not end here in Parliament - we want to actually organize a seminar where we sit down and say this is what we must do. I want to say I can organize and fund such a workshop for providing a draft for poverty alleviation for the people in the Communal lands.

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, Hon Mudarikwa - are you making a promise to this august House that you are going to provide finances?

MR MUDARIKWA: Madam Speaker, I will provide finances for the workshop to deal with the issue of poverty alleviation in the communal lands.

*MR RARADZA: Speech not recorded due to technical fault

MR. F. M. SIBANDA: I will attack this important motion first by thanking the mover and the seconder. My introduction shall dwell on the historical perspective of land emancipation and land degradation of our people. I am a victim of that historical perspective. My great grandfather was established in the Mbezi. After the war between the Rhodes forces, all that land was grabbed by them. In 1896 the Ndebele and the Shona had the first combined struggle against the Rhodes forces, the BSAP. It continued until 1930 when the Land Apportionment Act was promulgated by the then government. Africans were disposed of their fertile land in Gokwe, Silobela, Lupane and Binga. It proceeded to 1951, the Land Husbandry Act intensified .

In 2000 there was the Land Acquisition Act which was also effected by the powers that be. The scenario is that the communal land was called amarisevha and it was changed to communal land which meant that the land belonged to the State. If you built a good house and if the State decided to build a road, it would go through it. There are three Acts that I can speak about with authority as a historian. These Acts never alleviated poverty of Zimbabweans. What would happen was that the bourgeoisie, those who had money they bought small areas to give people a vision that they owned land. They bought land in Mount Darwin, Wedza, Zowa and the land quality was poor. This generation of farmers were poorer than they were because the land was poor. These people had very few means of production.

Coming to the Land Acquisition Act, it has been amended several times. Have we alleviated the plight of the poor? So as an august House we should sit down and try to make laws that are progressive for the poor people. Since 1896, when Mukwati my great grand grand grandfather was sent by Lobengula to meet Nehanda, they had one vision to correct the anomaly. Zimbabweans today whether we are from any political persuasion, we should come together and strategise and make what I would call a legislative agenda. We have this political agreement signed on the 15th September, as long as we make noises without Ministers promulgating laws, we will go nowhere. We will make the same mistake we made with the Land Apportionment Act 1930 and the Land Husbandary Act of 1957 and the Land Acquisition Act. Therefore I want to make it very clear that history has three reasons. I have spoken about the history of Zimbabwe and the poverty.

History helps us to know where we are from so that when we know that we plan accordingly and we will plan for the future. Hon. members might not understand why I have quoted Rhodes, Mukwati and Lobengula. This is an issue that historians have written so that we synthesize, getting what is important and improve our laws.

We should create more agricultural colleges because they are agro based industries. People should be educated so that there is that paradigm shift where people produce wealth rather than depending on handouts. The media should play its role of educating people. The Meteorological department should educate people on ZBC on the weather conditions. ZBC should educate people instead of scandalising people. They should inform the people where they can buy farming inputs instead of reporting on political issues only. We do not eat politics, politics is about governing and you can not govern people who are dead. We have to strategise information that is palatable to the communal people where ZBC, Herald, Chronicle become pragmatic and act according to the new dispensation what we are in.

TRANSPORT TO THE NATIONAL WOMEN'S CONSTITUTIONAL SUMMIT

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: The bus ferrying women MPs to the National Women's Constitutional Summit at Rainbow Towers on Friday 19 June 2009 will depart Parliament Building at 0830 hours in the morning.

THE MINISTER OF SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES AND CO-OPERATIVE DEVELOPMENT: I move that the debate do now adjourn.

Motion put and agreed to.

Debate to resume: Tuesday, 14th July 2009

On the motion of THE MINISTER OF SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES AND CO-OPERATIVE DEVELOPMENT, the House adjourned at Twenty Six Minutes past Four O'clock p.m. until Tuesday, 14th July 2009.

 

Last modified on Friday, 15 November 2013 10:21
BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS
National Assembly Hansard Vol. 35 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY HANSARD - 18 JUNE 2009 VOL. 35 NO. 33