Transplanted farmers in Zambia threatened again
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Many evicted Zimbabwean tobacco farmers who set up farms in Zambia during the past five years now face economic troubles that threaten to put them out of business, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Most white Zimbabwean farmers left the country five years ago when Zimbabwe’s government began seizing their farms as part of President Robert Mugabe’s campaign to transfer land to black owners. The campaign has left Zimbabwe with widespread hunger and at the brink of economic collapse.
Many of the evicted farmers moved to other African countries, such as Zambia, to begin anew. Since 2001, Zimbabwean farmers have helped boost Zambia’s tobacco production 500 percent, to 24,000 tons in 2005. But the world price for tobacco has remained steady while the prices of fertilizer, fuel and other crucial inputs have doubled because of rising oil prices and strengthening southern African currencies.
Farmers who once earned a 50 percent profit from tobacco have seen profits cut to virtually nothing. Many, having earlier secured large loans to invest in tobacco equipment, now find themselves unable to make loan payments and face the possibility of bankruptcy.