USA Today reported yesterday that “President Robert Mugabe, campaigning for upcoming elections, has signed a new law requiring foreign- and white-owned businesses to hand over 51% control of their operations to blacks…”
Zimbabwe is referred to as an “impoverished African nation” in the article, but before Mugabe took power, it wasn’t impoverished. Back then Zimbabwe was a food exporter and, compared to the rest of Africa, relatively well off. Now it’s an economic disaster with an inflation rate exceeding 100,000%. Zimbabwe has to import food now because it’s “farmers” are incapable of producing enough food.
Mugabe, of course, blames Zimbabwe’s problems on sanctions imposed by other countries, but that doesn’t explain how his country can’t manage to feed it’s own people when it used to produce enough to export.
The answer is in the article:
Since the government began ordering the seizure of white-owned farms in 2000, production of food and agricultural exports has slumped drastically.
In other words, Mugabe took the farms from their owners who knew how to operate a productive farm, and gave them to cronies who had no clue how to farm. You can’t hand a farm to someone who’s never farmed before and expect them to produce at the level of the previous owner. They’d be lucky to harvest anything at all. Farming isn’t easy and modern farming is highly technical. You don’t pick it up with a few months of OJT. Primitive or organic farming can’t produce yields that modern methods can, and since the UN reports, “…just 10% of fertilizer needed in the last planting season is available to farmers.” they’re going to be farming “organic” by definition.
Now Mugabe is doing to rest of the economy what he did to farming.
Zimbabwe used to be the bread basket of Africa. Now it’s a basket case and getting worse.