Thursday, April 25, 2013

Malawi President Banda Lauds Zimbabwe Land Reform

Malawi president lauds Zim land reform

Wednesday, 24 April 2013
Zimbabwe Herald

Malawi President Joyce Banda hands over gifts to patients at Kuwadzana clinic today.

Visiting Malawian President Mrs Joyce Banda yesterday hailed Zimbabwe for its land reform programme and economic empowerment initiatives it is implementing saying they had uplifted the livelihoods of the majority.

President Banda said poverty in Africa would be eradicated if rural communities continue to be supported like what is happening in Zimbabwe. She made the remarks today after touring Boka Tobacco Auction Foors in Harare.

She said Malawi had a lot to learn in agriculture from Zimbabwe following the success of the agrarian reform.

“I am impressed by your programmes in the agricultural sector and I have already planned to go back and send a group of people to come and learn from our brothers and sisters,” she said.

“It is our hope that we will then begin to implement what we have seen for the benefit of our country and Africa as a continent ,” she said.

“I was talking to the Vice President (Joice Mujuru) and I told her that I have come to learn how we can increase the growing of flu cured tobacco.”

Malawi to copy Zim’s land reform, empowerment policies

Thursday, 25 April 2013 00:00
Felex Share Herald Reporter

Malawi will replicate Zimbabwe’s land reform and economic empowerment initiatives because they are important in uplifting the livelihoods of the majority, visiting Malawian President Joyce Banda said yesterday.

President Banda said she would soon send experts to Zimbabwe to study the two programmes and recommend how they could be implemented in her country.

The Malawian leader hailed the land reform and economic empowerment programmes as success stories after touring the Boka Tobacco Auction Floors in Harare.

President Banda, who arrived in Harare on Tuesday for a five-day State visit, was accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Joseph Made during the tour.

“I am impressed by your programmes in the agricultural sector,” she said. “I have plans to send a group of people to come and learn from our brothers and sisters here.

“It is our hope that we will then begin to implement what we have seen here for the benefit of our country and Africa as a continent. Such empowering initiatives are welcome.

“I was talking to the Vice President (Joice Mujuru) and told her that I have come to learn how we can increase the growing of flue-cured tobacco. In Malawi, we rely on burley tobacco.”

Most of the tobacco being sold at Zimbabwe’s three auction floors is grown by resettled farmers.

Some Western countries initially criticised the land reform programme, but the same have of late been lauding its success.

The newly-resettled farmers have managed to produce significantly on the farms despite challenges they face due to the west’s illegal economic sanctions regime.

Land reform saw the majority of Zimbabweans, who were previously settled on marginal infertile land, getting vast tracts of land that were occupied by about 4 000 white farmers.

President Banda said poverty could only be eradicated if rural communities were empowered.

“Two weeks ago, I was in the United States and I told President Obama that where I come from, Africa, poverty is going to be eradicated if we pay special attention to rural communities,” she said.

“Until and unless rural households have income, poverty remains on the continent. As leaders, we have a mandate to create opportunities for the rural people. I am happy with efforts I have seen here where rural people are selling their tobacco to get income.”

President Banda said trade between Zimbabwe and Malawi should be strengthened for mutual benefit.

“It does not make sense for us to register more trade with Western countries when Zimbabwe is around the corner,” she said.

“A lot of Malawians are in Zimbabwe and vice versa and as such there is need for promoting trade. But for this to be achievable, it depends on who is in the driving seat. I will continue working with President Mugabe to ensure that there is more interaction between our people.”

Minister Made said the number of tobacco growers had increased in the past decade from 5 000 to over 85 000 despite the illegal sanctions.

“As you can see, there is no difference between commercial white farmers and our indigenous black farmers,” he said.

“They are increasing their produce yearly despite the fact that their major challenge is funding.”

Before touring the Boka Tobacco Auction Floors, President Banda visited the National Heroes Acre and said her country would soon establish its own.

“For me, this is a study tour because Malawi is establishing its own heroes’ acre and I have learnt what you have done to honour those who sacrificed a lot to free this country,” she said.

“This has given me an opportunity to connect with the spirits of these gallant sons and daughters. I have seen that there is nothing political about this place. I was wondering all along why President Mugabe and others left the country to stay in the bush, but now I am inspired with what I have seen.”

President Banda laid wreaths on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

She also visited Kuwadzana Poly Clinic in the city and urged citizens to play a part to ensure Africa reduces maternal mortality.

“In the West, if a woman gets pregnant it is jubilation from the first month, but in Africa it is a period of anxiety as we do not know whether that child will live or die,” she said.

“Everyone has got a responsibility to protect women. Local chiefs, being custodians of tradition and culture, have also a role to play. Others have passed by-laws in their areas of jurisdiction to ensure the mortality rate is reduced.

“Even if we pass a number of laws in Parliament, the problem is with implementation and that is where everyone should be involved. What is passed in Parliament should take place at grassroots levels.”

President Banda is expected to officially open the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair tomorrow.

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