The CFU, once Zimbabwe’s most powerful farming association, had more than 4 500 before the controversial Land Resettlement Programme (LRP) began in 2000.
Marc Carrie-Wilson, CFU’s Legal Affairs Manager, told Radio VOP in an exclusive interview in Harare that the few farmers left were trying their best to return to agricultural production as happened in the 1980s when Zimbabwe was the bread basket of southern Africa.
“There are about 200 commercial farmers left and in our association,” he said in an interview.
“The major problem facing the commercial farming sector in Zimbabwe today is lack of finance and knowledge. The agricultural colleges are not producing farmers who want to farm but those who view farming as a hobby.”
He said there was new thinking within the CFU due to the new President, Charles Taffs.
“I think he will lead the organisation to much better times because we are seeing a change in the organisation right now,” Carrie Wilson said.
The move comes amid sentiments by some personalities, even among the white people, that the CFU is slowly losing its direction and should be “abandoned”.
“I really don’t think so,” Carrie-Wilson said. “Maybe the disgruntled individuals are saying so because we now have a new President who is very strong.”
He said there was new thinking within the CFU and it was working with the Government of National Unity (GNU) to try and return Zimbabwe to its days of glory.
Zimbabwe used to be the bread basked of southern Africa under the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
However, Zimbabwe is now more of a basket case and has to regularly beg from its “poor” neighbours, many of whom ironically benefited from its commercial farmers who ran away after President Mugabe and his former ruling party decided to grab land for their own purposes using the country’s indigenisation regulations in 2000.
“Things have now changed,” said Carrie-Wilson said. “The CFU has changed and we are working with the government on the Land Reform Programme.”