Repackaging the Free Market in Zimbabwe

Repackaging the Free Market in ZimbabweWhen Zimbabwe’s socialist government decreed a land reform program in 2000, revolutionary mobs invaded farms and evicted from their lands almost all of the nation’s white commercial farmers.

These farmers, African-born and raised, turned the landlocked southern African nation into the breadbasket of the region. Their production of corn, tobacco and other crops supplied all the needs of the population with a surplus for export.

But when the socialist land reform swept the country in 2000, these farmers were thrown off their farms often without any compensation. Squatters occupied the farms and destroyed vital infrastructure systems. Predictably, as in all countries where socialist and confiscatory land reform has been implemented, agriculture production plummeted. Zimbabwe went from breadbasket to basket case.

Many of the white commercial farmers who were thrown off their lands went to neighboring Zambia who welcomed them. They reestablished themselves in lands similar to those which they had known in Zimbabwe. Now these farmers are thriving and producing huge harvests.

And in Zimbabwe, the government will need to import 2.2 million tons of grain to feed millions of its starving population. Zimbabwe is importing some 300,000 tons of maize from Zambia — and much of this maize was raised by the displaced farmers.

Recipients of Zimbabwe’s grain loan scheme in Matabeleland were shocked to discover the names of the former white farmers on the identification stickers put on the grain bags.

The reaction of the Zimbabwean government is perhaps predictable. Instead of celebrating the hard work and enterprising spirit of their former citizens, they are ordering villagers to destroy all the Zambian bags and repackage the grain in local bags.

The fact that some former Zimbabwean farmers were supplying maize to the government is yet another proof that socialist land reform does not work. One way to hide this fact is to repackage free market grain in the empty bags of socialism.

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