President Robert Mugabe has taken the Look East policy to a new level after his government secretly diverted ‘land meant for locals’ to farmers of Chinese origin.
The land was forcibly taken from white owners who are still waiting for compensation.
The move comes at a time when Chinese nationals have almost full control of mining and construction business in the country.
More than five farms have attracted Chinese investment in Mashonaland Central, a region to the north-west of Harare, that was traditionally one of the country’s best tobacco-producing areas.
The move is not surprising given that a number of farms in the country lie fallow amid broken fences, fields scorched by fires and scarce livestock. There are few surviving indigenous trees as many were felled by new farmers who could not afford coal to cure their tobacco.
A generation of evicted white farmers have moved to neighboring countries like Zambia and Mozambique and they are now exporting maize and food to feed starving Zimbabweans.
After putting more than $20 million in machinery and technology, the Chinese have been invited by Mugabe to revive the country’s agriculture.
According to United Nations papers, in 1975, Zimbabwe(Known then as Rhodesia) was one of the top three largest producers of corn in the world.
Neighbours and overseas countries used to look at the prosperous Southern African nation to feed their citizens.
Now it’s the other way round!