Ten white farmers appeared in court in Zimbabwe yesterday accused of growing crops on their land — in a country where millions of people will need food aid within the next few months.
The case in Chegutu district, 70 miles southwest of Harare, exposes the perversity of President Robert Mugabe's policies. Commerical agriculture was the mainstay of the economy in the days when Zimbabwe was a food exporter.
Since 2000, when the government began seizing white-owned farms, many of them violently, the agricultural sector has collapsed and the economy has gone into freefall, with inflation now at 6,600 per cent, the highest in the world.
The World Food Programme estimates that it will be feeding 4.1 million Zimbabweans, one third of the population, by the end of the year.