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Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Protest Eviction of Another White Grower

The Commercial Farmers Union and both MDC wings warned that continued evictions of the few hundred remaining white farmers in the country would hinder recovery in agriculture and worsen food shortages

The eviction this week of a prize-winning white Zimbabwean commercial farmer from his property in Beatrice, near Harare, has sparked outrage by the Commercial Farmers Union and both formations of the Movement for Democratic Change.

They warned that continued evictions of the few hundred remaining white farmers in the country are hindering recovery in agriculture and could worsen food shortages.

Wayne Greaves was named tobacco farmer of the year in 1997, three years before President Robert Mugabe launched land reform. Greaves and has remained a top tobacco producer and also grows maize - a national staple - and raises cattle.

A Zimbabwe High Court judge gave Greaves a week to vacate his farm to allow one Hudson Zhanda to take over his Enondo B property. The notice expires Wednesday and on Tuesday Greaves was moving out with around 90 of his farm laborers, whose extended families encompass more than 300 dependents.

Greaves said he is leaving a tobacco crop worth US$700,000 in the ground.

Commercial Farmers Union President Charles Taffs said more than 100 of the remaining 300 white commercial farmers in Zimbabwe face a similar fate.

He said Zimbabwe's national unity government should halt evictions and let the farmers work their land to avert what serious food shortages in the coming season.

The two MDC formations criticized Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF for pressing ahead with the land invasions. Spokesman Nhlanhla Dube of the MDC wing led by Industry Minister Welshman Ncube condemned Greaves’s eviction and those of other farmers.

ZANU-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo refused to comment on the Greaves case.