For the past two months, peasant farmers, disgruntled with the slow pace of resettlement and empty promises over the past 18 years, have been invading commercial farms and settling themselves.
To quash “press reports and public opinion” which have stated that farmers are to blame for food price hikes, the Commercial Farmers Union has produced a 25-page report on the Viability of Agricultural Commodities in which it argues that farmers are not price setters but price takers and are influenced as much by the consumers’ pocket as they are by supply and demand.
Printing and packaging giant, Hunyani, recorded a 30 percent increase in operating income in the six months ending April rising from $39.7 million last year to $50.1 million but a heavy interest burden saw the profit attributable to members only increasing by two percent from $24.7 million to $25.2 million.
Rising costs which resulted in higher than expected overhead expenditure, labour unrest and the need to trim margins in order to compete saw Mashonaland Holdings’ profit at a standstill, declining marginally by 3 percent from $46.5 million to $45.2 million in the 12 months ending March.
Randalls Holdings, which was floated last year with the company forecasting a pre-tax profit of $54.6 million based on assumptions that inflation would average 16 percent, the Zimbabwe dollar would decline slowly, interest rates would be marginally above the rate of inflation, the country would have an average agricultural season and there would be continued investment in mining and construction, ended up more than $20 million short because of the economic and social turbulence that characterised its financial year ending March.
Although she may not be in politics outright like her predecessor Sally, Zimbabwe’s first lady Grace Mugabe seems to be doing more damage to her husband because of her extravagancy. At a time when the country is reeling under economic hardship with inflation now pegged at 29.8 percent, unemployment around 50 percent, and workers not happy with wage increases below 30 percent, reports say she is building a $3 million house in her home town of Chivhu about 140 km south of Harare.