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Tuesday, 25 June, 2002, 14:47 GMT 15:47 UK
Q&A: Zimbabwe white farmer
A farmer in Southern Matebeleland for the past 30 years, Alistair Coulson is one of many who has decided to ignore a ruling from the Zimbabwean authorities and continue working.

Q: Why are you defying the government?

Well it is really the injustice of the whole exercise.

I bought this farm over 11 years ago.

Wheat crop
Properties which can afford irrigation will have something to harvest

At that time it was offered to the government who issued me with a certificate of no interest, and I bought it on the basis that they were not interested in the farm.

I borrowed a lot of money to buy this farm, and I developed the farm and employed a lot of workers.

Together we feel that we're not being treated fairly.

I don't own other properties.

They have evicted me from my home, they have evicted my workers from their homes.

And I feel that for the benefit to the beneficiaries who are gonna take it over from us, who will only be weekend farmers - they are government officials who, as I say, will only be weekend farmers - the farm will not be anywhere near as productive with myself and my workers.

Unfarmed land in
The land is usually a patchwork of green wheat at this time of year

Q: Are you prepared to break the law, perhaps to go to jail?

Well, I think we've got a point to make and if it comes to that, yes, we will make the point while possibly being arrested and having to go to court.

Q: Do you understand the government's need to redistribute the land?

Certainly, we understand the need for redistribution.

But let it be done in a formal, justifiable manner in the sense that land, as property bought, it is property demarcated and compensated for, and then given to farmers who are going to make use of that land and make it as productive, and even more productive than it was in the hands of those who they took it from.

But do not dislodge productive farmers who don't have much land anyway.

We feel that this can only lead to massive starvation as we're going to witness in the coming months in Zimbabwe.


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15 May 02 | Africa
09 May 02 | Africa
03 May 02 | Africa
14 Mar 02 | Africa
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