Furore in Nigeria over real benefits of Zimbabwean farming investors
Posted by CM on June 20, 2007
A few years after the emigration of some dislocated Zimbabwean commercial farmers to various countries, reports are beginning to trickle in of how the experiment is faring for the farmers as well as for their new host countries. There have been recent reports of some returning to Zimbabwe from Mozambique and Zambia, where the conditions where not what they had hoped, while others are said to be settling in well into their new environments there.
Nigeria was one of the first of several African countries to try to lure the Zimbabwean farmers. One of Nigeria’s 36 states, Kwara, began the effort to recruit the Zimbabweans for their farming expertise, as the West African oil producer begins to pay new attention to its long neglected agricultural sector.
While the farmers relocated to Kwara State are reported to be doing well, there are Nigerian critics who are bitter at what they allege to be the over-pampering of the Zimbabweans. They allege that rather than being foreign investors, they are really no more than highly favoured refugees who have benefited from generous loans, grants and other concessions from the state.
There is also disquiet over whether the promised benefits to the local communities are accruing. The long original report was featured in the Nigerian newspaper the Daily Sun. An edited version is on the weblog African Agriculture.