Graceless

6 01 2010

There is an L shaped piece of land between me and my next door neighbours. It is about 40ha and is good ground. Last year Grace Mugabe farmed it with soy beans (well she got somebody else to do it but I did see her “inspecting” on occasion). They were late getting the crop sown and it was riddled with weeds so I guess the yield was not great. The year before that some white commercial farmers managed to lease it and did a good job with their soy crop. It was spotless and they did well out of it – I asked one of them, facetiously, if they’d used Roundup Ready soy seed. He took me seriously and said no, but they were looking into using it. Roundup Ready soy beans are genetically modified to take a spray of Roundup (glyphosate) which is a herbicide that normally will kill everything. GM crops are banned in Zimbabwe for no good reason that I can think of but then logic IS in short supply around here.

This year Grace’s lot are again back and again they are late. For some time a very large, new, tractor was parked behind my work with an equally large cultivator behind it. It did eventually do some cultivating and then stood again before being removed, probably because the land was too wet. Last week I saw herbicide being sprayed on the cultivated land then a rather old tracked tractor appeared with a much smaller cultivator. It has been parked in the same spot for the last 3 days and now the rain has arrived so it cannot do any cultivating. Not a great start but it’s probably not her money anyway.

After the first crop of soy beans were harvested the locals moved in en masse to pick up the beans that had been dropped. They were there for most of the year – times must have been tough (it was the time of the Zimbabwe dollar fiasco). This year I noticed that at least a quarter of the field already had a substantial crop of self sown plants and I don’t recall anyone picking up the fallen beans. I guess times must have improved!

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