THE JAG TRUST CHRISTMAS COMMUNIQUÉ
Dated: 20 DECEMBER 2013
The Justice for Agriculture (JAG) Trust would like to take this opportunity to thank the JAG Farmer Membership, our Advertisers, Subscribers and Friends for the loyal support over the past year and to wish you all a very happy Christmas and a peaceful and restful break.
The past year has proved, yet again, extremely challenging for all in our constituency, with increasingly less farmers, doing what they do best and an economy continuing to shrink and melt down, as a direct result.
At some stage sanity and common sense must prevail as the dire issues of national unemployment and intensifying food insecurity become more critical. Both of these issues conspicuously point to the necessity of resolving, meaningfully, the agricultural sector legal impasse.
Zimbabwe's engine of growth, development, wealth creation, employment and poverty alleviation has always been vested in the agricultural sector. There is no circumnavigating this glaringly blunt fact, witnessed by what has transpired over the past decade. Given the escalating challenges of the current season, we seem predestined to record, all time record low levels of agricultural production from all sectors, particularly food.
Global food concerns continue to intensify, driving up agricultural land prices and consequently food prices around the world; whilst, increasingly, Africa is, quite rightly, being viewed as the key solution to this global priority. Regrettably, against this very positive backdrop, Zimbabwe's most valuable assets: its agricultural skills base and most of its prime agricultural land (now with no bankable nor transferable title and hence no collateral value) remain largely unengaged and unutilized. This is rapidly becoming unacceptable to all
stakeholders: Local, Regional and International.
The harsh reality and stark facts are that for the past decade we have increasingly failed to feed the nation and now virtually 90% of all food products have to be imported at great expense, certainly unaffordable to the vast majority (90%) who remain unemployed. This worsening trend is eminently reversible (within one year); witness the Zambian food insecurity position of 2003 reversed by only 85 Zimbabwe farmers engaged there that year. The Zambian economy has gone from strength to strength ever since, with even greater numbers of displaced Zimbabwe farmers relocating there.
That Zimbabwe's agricultural impasse is increasingly, both politically and economically, unsustainable is an understatement, as Regional and Global food concerns heighten, pressure for a solution will build and must. A legitimate, just and workable solution will have to be found.
The law has been flaunted whilst politics reign, but the harsh economic realities will always prevail, eventually.
The JAG Trust continues, under challenging constraints, to successfully fulfill its mandate to the displaced and dispossessed farming community
- to document - to publicize and to litigate, in promotion, preservation and protection of farmers' and farm workers' rights. Much of JAG's work is of necessity behind the scenes and will only be of real lasting value once true and meaningful legitimacy is restored in Zimbabwe. However, the establishment of new and more realistic legal precedents, in the interim, remains absolutely essential.
Meanwhile, frustratingly, it continues to be a waiting game. We cannot emphasize enough how essential it is for all farmers to keep updating their farm claims documentation and especially ensuring that their farm valuations are being professionally concluded using the appropriate methodology as prescribed under Public International Law for fair and equitable restitution/compensation.
For the past four years JAG has, of necessity, had an increasing involvement with the tried, tested and very professional team of SA Valuers MillsFitchet (Natal). Every Zimbabwean farmer in the front line of the numerous legal initiatives, have all, without exception, followed JAG's counsel and contracted second opinion valuations from MillsFitchet SA. Again, without exception, all have opted to utilize in their legal initiatives the MillsFitchet Valuation Reports. MillsFitchet's earnings/market valuation methodology using comparative property sales/market research in the region and their Valuation Reports are second to none. These very professional reports come timeously at a very affordable and cost effective, step by step rate to Zimbabwe farmers.
The process commences with a "desktop" earnings valuation, based on a ten year discounted cash flow to establish what the farm can afford to pay for itself over ten years. This becomes a minimum valuation benchmark figure prior to assessing market forces that may have a further positive influence. This at a cost of only a few hundred dollars, you are on the database, have started the process and receive very quickly a minimum benchmark value. Interested farmers should contact the JAG office for more information on this important front in the New Year.
The JAG office will be closed from Monday 23rd December 2013 and open again on Monday 6th January 2014. However, the JAG Helplines will continue to be manned on a 24hr basis for those needing assistance.
The JAG Team would like to take this opportunity to wish one and all a very Happy, Festive and Peaceful Christmas break, we wish you all the very best in the coming New Year and thank you for your valued involvement and support in the past year.
THE JAG TEAM