Zimbabwe Review

Reflections on Zimbabwe

Joseph Made at his wild guessing games about agriculture again

Posted by CM on March 17, 2008

Mugabe minister Joseph Made is a man given to making sweeping statements. Several years ago, as then agriculture minister, he took a helicopter trip around the country and on that basis declared the country was about to enjoy a bumper maize harvest. The maize deficit that resulted and has continued every year since then earned Made much scorn and derision.

He now has the grand title of minister of Agricultural Engineering, Mechanisation and Irrigation. His portfolio may have changed, but not his penchant for wild, optimistic guessing games.

Every gambit by the Mugabe government to revive agriculture over the last eight years or so has been a disastrous failure. Now, two weeks before a crucial election, Made predicts the electioneering tactic of parceling out recently imported agricultural machinery will achieve what every other action of the Mugabe government has failed to do.

From The Herald of March 17:

Business Reporter

THE distribution of various farming implements last week under Phase 3 of the mechanisation programme, coupled with the machinery distributed under phase 1 and 2, will have the net effect of increasing production by no less than 50 percent in the short term.

Agricultural Engineering, Mechanisation and Irrigation Minister Dr Joseph Made said this would, however, depend on the effective use of the equipment, especially tractors.

A total of 500 tractors were distributed under Phase three while 1 200 tractors were distributed under phase 2 and 925 under phase one giving a cumulative figure of 2 625 tractors distributed so far.

Dr Made said if the tractors are used at the right time and in the right manner the yield capacity could go up to as much as 100 percent or 200 percent. The yield per unit for a small farmer receiving assistance from the District Development Fund, he said, should be around 200 percent.

Dr Made said if fertilizer availability improves, the yield capacity could go up by as much as 400 or 500 percent. “I am talking about sufficient quantities of proper base fertilizers, top dressing fertilizer, herbicides, pest control chemicals,” he said.

He added that the increase in production was also dependent on proper care and maintenance of the equipment. This, he said, could be achieved if farmers stick to periodic maintenance instructions prescribed by the manufacturers. “If all farmers are able to do this we will only start thinking about a major massive service after five years,” he said.

Given such a scenario, Dr Made said, production capacity in the next five years could surpass 1 000 percent.

I get the distinct impression the man is just throwing around whatever figures come to his mind! Without any context or details he predicts agricultural productivity will go up by huge, conveniently nice round numbers.

It is good for farmers to get farmers and other farm equipment. Unfortunately, there are so many factors working against their success that the equipment is unlikely to lead to anywhere near the kind of productivity increases Made daydreams about. Made actually gives hints of this by all the “ifs” he qualifies his predictions with.

“If” used at the right time, “if” fertiliser is made available, “if” the equipment is properly maintained, and so on.

Diesel is neither widely nor easily available so it is not a simple matter to use one’s tractor “at the right time.” Fertiliser and other inputs have not been affordably and widely available for close to ten years now, and as the forex crunch continues, there is no reason to believe that this situation will change any time soon. Maintenance of any equipment in Zimbabwe is hard because of the expense and difficulty of getting service items like oil and air filters, so it is a safe bet that many of these tractors will simply be run un-serviced until they quit.

The way Made expresses himself makes it quite clear that he is aware of all this.

The equipment being parceled out and all the other ad hoc agricultural measures are being tried when there is so much that is fundamentally wrong with the economy that they will largely go to waste. Once again we have evidence of how things have deteriorated to a stage where band-aid measures are no longer enough and a wholesale, surgical renewal operation is required.


2 Responses to “Joseph Made at his wild guessing games about agriculture again”

  1. The Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA) has been brought to its knees by corrupt management. I agree with Kumbirai Kawadza’s letter which was published by the herald on the 20th of November 2013, in which he said “Government’s stance on agriculture laudable.” May I also take this opportunity to ask the ARDA Board Chairman, CDE B.S.E. Nyabadza, why he is refusing to meet the ARDA Head office workers. The workers wrote several letters to the Chairman, the then permenant secretary to the ministry of Agriculture and the minister himself, CDE J. MADE. The Acting General Manager Mr W.T. Mbona wrote a letter to employees indicating that he did not want to talk to them then and in the future.

    The workers highlighted a number of irregularities which has brought ARDA to its knees. The irregularities include the following:
    1. CBZ loan amounting to about US$9 million. The workers wanted an explanation from the Acting General Manager and the ARDA Board as to what the money was used for?
    2. The workers questioned the sale of wheat to a bogus company, Tandarai Inn. ARDA lost about US$170,000 in that deal. The Acting General Manager approved the sell of wheat on credit top this bogus company on credit when ARDA’s policy does not allow anyone to sell any produce on credit.
    3. Workers questioned the management competence in purchasing tea plucking machines from Brazil in 2004 and paying the amount in full, but as l report today, the machines have not been delivered to ARDA.
    4. Workers also demanded an explanation as to why ARDA management purchased 100 tonnes of fertilizer from the ARDA Board Chairman, CDE B.S.E. Nyabadza instead of from fertilizer producing companies like Z.F.C and Windmill.
    5.The workers also wanted to know how CDE Nyabadza’ s sister was chosen to partner the hunter in the SAVE conservancy.
    6.The employees also wanted an explanation as to why their Pension contributions were not being remitted to Old Mutual since the inception of the multi-currency system to date (21/11/2013).
    7.The workers also wanted an explanation as to why the Board is failing to appoint a substantive General Manager.
    8. The workers also wanted an explanation as to the whereabout of the 307 tonnes of wheat from Rating and MaCdom Investments.
    9. Employees were also demanding an explanation as to why management decided to buy a new generator instead of getting the one they had send for repairs.
    10. Employees were also demanding an explanation as to why management are not collecting 120 tractor trailers bought and fully paid for from Trinity Engineering.
    11. Employees were also seeking an explanation as to why they are not being paid their monthly salaries and wages when RATING and MaDom owe ARDA in excess of US$4 million.
    12. The workers also wanted an explanation of Gameloft’ s CR14 of 2008. The Gameloft joint venture was established in June 2010.
    13. The workers are also demanding an explanation as to why the Acting General Manager is using a hired vehicle when he has two vehicle allocated to him and also considering that ARDA is Bankrupt.

    These and many others were reported to the Anti-Corruption and the Minister of Agriculture, but up to now nothing has been done. ARDA estates are now lying idle as there nothing taking place. The Chairman is always in the media talking about Greenfuels, but ARDA is not benefiting from this B.O.T or Joint Venture. Some ARDA estates employees have gone for more 18 months without pay. Is CDE Made aware of this or he is together with the culprits? Several letters were written to him, but he is not taking any action.

    You can call the following estates managers and here the story of ARDA estates;
    Balu Estate- Mr Mangani-0773470930; Nandi Estate- Mr Muwungani-0779546890; Antelope Estate- Mr Nyajeka 0774378093; Fair-Acres-Mr Kache- 0775020618; ARDA Muzarabani-Mr Moyo-0773825646. There is nothing that ARDA Estates are planning for this 2013-2014 summer cropping season. All ARDA estates are now in deplorable states. It will take quiet a lot of time to revive them.

    ARDA has a management problem. Both the ARDA board and the Acting General Manager are incompetent and corrupt. Workers biggest question is why is the Minister of Agriculture, CDE J. MADE quiet? Why is he not taking action? CDE MADE, wake up and smell the coffee. You are not complementing His Excellency, CDE R.G. Mugabe. Can you please ask the Acting General Manager and his Board to leave with immediate effect. We as workers want the Anti- Corruption to investigate the above issues. We are prepared to offer evidence in all the above cases.

    The Acting General Manager’s number is 0712401884 and his name is Mr W.T. Mbona, you can also call a workers’ representative Mr Nduku on 0772433097 and confirm the above issues that are taking place at ARDA. In an attempt to unearth this corruption, we request you to publish this letter in your paper.



    This is a response to a report by Veneranda Langa, a senior parliamentary reporter of the Newsday. The report was published in the Newsday of the 16th of January 2014. The report quoted Mr Charamba’s remarks when he appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Media, Information and Broadcasting Services, in which he said, “Muchechetere not qualified to be ZBC boss.”
    The issue of unqualified parastatals bosses seems to cut across non performing parastatals. The Acting ARDA General Manager, Mr W.T Mbona is not qualified to lead the Agricultural Institution. He holds an Institute of Administration and Commerce’s diploma in Business Administration and an ACCA qualification which he completed over a period of between 16 and 18 years. Mr Mbona was suspended for incompetence by the then General Manager, Mr Erickson Mvududu. The Board, in its wisdom or lack of it, fired Mr Mvududu and recalled Mr Mbona only to appoint him as the Acting General Manager. He has been Acting for the past five years or so now. You can confirm this information with ARDA Board Chairman, Mr Nyabadza on 0772572286 and Mr Mbona on 0712401884.
    The Acting General Manager, Mr W.T. Mbona drafted a contract between ARDA, Macdom and Rating. In this contract he used the word “gross income” to mean turn-over or sales. He failed the explain the key words in the contract and as such Rating and Macdom are interpreting “gross income” as income after direct costs of production or cost of sales. This has resulted in ARDA losing about $3.5 million dollars from the Joint venture.
    The Acting General Manager also entered into a contract with Tandarai Inn (a bogus company) and ARDA was defrauded of about $170 000. The ARDA board is fully aware of these activities but is not taking any action.
    ARDA paid for tea plucking Machines from a company in Argentina in 2004 but the machines have not been delivered up to now. Mr Mbona’s management seems to have run out ideas and leaving everything to fate.
    The workers have now gone for more than five (5) months without pay and management looks like they are clueless as to when they will pay their employees. Mr Mbona’s management accepted in a meeting with employees that they have failed to run the Authority. The question that the board has failed to answer is why the board is keeping this type of management?

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