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Last Updated: Monday, 27 August 2007, 20:48 GMT 21:48 UK
Zimbabwe agriculture show opens
By Peter Greste
BBC News, South Africa

Harare shoppers in an almost empty supermarket (file picture)
Zimbabweans are suffering severe shortages of food and fuel
Zimbabwe's annual agricultural showcase has begun in the capital, Harare.

More than 200 farmers from across Zimbabwe are exhibiting maize, wheat, cotton, vegetables, honey and livestock, the show's organisers say.

Since the government introduced price controls in June, those goods and many more have vanished from stores.

Meanwhile, the black market prices have continued to soar at an estimated 20,000% - well beyond the reach of the 80% of workers now without a job.

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has blamed economic sanctions by the West for the crisis.

But critics say it is President Mugabe's own land reform policy that has turned one of Africa's most productive farming states into one of its hungriest.

Guinean opener

The Harare show's theme this year is "To feed the nation, time for innovation".

map

It is to be officially opened by Teodoro Obiang Nguema, the President of Equatorial Guinea.

The two countries were linked together in 2004, when mercenaries - allegedly on their way to stage a coup in Equatorial Guinea - were arrested in Zimbabwe.

Since then, ties between the two countries have grown.

Human-rights organisations have accused President Obiang of running a dictatorship responsible for gross human rights violations.


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