UK willing to help Zimbabwe regain its breadbasket status

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Britain’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Catriona Laing, has reportedly said her country is willing to help Zimbabwe regain its breadbasket status, as the UK launched a $72m Livelihoods and Food Security Programme in that country. According to Zimbabwe’s daily newspaper, The Herald, the programme, initiated by Britain’s Department of International Development (DFID), would help reduce poverty among poor Zimbabweans.

A Reuters report said on Thursday that the grant will help increase food production by rural farmers over the next four years, as the southern African country faces the prospect of poorer harvests this year due to inadequate rains.

Zimbabwe has since 2000 struggled to feed its people due to droughts and President Robert Mugabe’s seizure of white-owned farms to resettle landless blacks, which badly affected commercial agriculture.

A News Day report said at least 126 975 smallholder farmers in the southern African country’s eight districts were expected to benefit from the programme.

This comes a few weeks after London mayor Boris Johnson openly admitted that Britain played a “shameful” role in Zimbabwe’s economic woes.

In an article published in a UK daily The Telegraph, Johnson stated that Zimbabwe was now the second poorest nation in the whole world, adding that former British prime minister Tony Blair had a hand in the southern African country’s mess.

“… It is vital to recognise that Zimbabwe was not always like this, and did not have to be like this. This [Robert] Mugabe tyranny is no accident – and Britain played a shameful part in the disaster,” Johnson wrote.

Zimbabwe and Britain have had frosty ties since 2000, with London, the European Union and United States accusing Mugabe of rigging elections and human rights abuses. Mugabe denies the charges, saying Britain is leading the West in trying to remove him from power as punishment for the land seizures.A UK trade delegation visited Zimbabwe recently.

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Source: AfricaMetro

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