INTRODUCTION: Delegates to the recent United Nations conference on refugees in Africa -- according to Zimbabwe's Minister for Refugees -- were much impressed with the progress Zimbabwe has made with resettling people displaced by more than seven years of guerrilla war.
GV PAN Zimbabwe countryside.
TV & CU Co-operative farm, with woman drawing water from well. (3 shots)
CU Agricultural "pack" sorter, woman using bucket to water plants. (2 shots)
SV PAN & CU Farmers seated listening to lecture and watching video instruction tape. (2 shots)
CU & LV Farmers seated in class. (2 shots)
GV & CU Two tractors ploughing field. (4 shots)
GV & CU Farmers ploughing with team of oxen. (2 shots)
GV & CU Farmers receiving packs of seed. (2 shots)
CU & LV Farmer and family sowing seed by hand. (2 shots)
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: INTRODUCTION: Delegates to the recent United Nations conference on refugees in Africa -- according to Zimbabwe's Minister for Refugees -- were much impressed with the progress Zimbabwe has made with resettling people displaced by more than seven years of guerrilla war. The work has been a co-operative effort between the government of Zimbabwe and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees -- which has just released film showing how the programme is carried out.
SYNOPSIS: Fertile rolling country in Zimbabwe -- able to provide a living for returning refugees and displaced was victims, provided they are given the means to get started. More than a million fled over the frontiers or into the cities to get away from the fighting; others were forced to move into protected villages. Many have now made their way back to their home districts, and are being helped by official rehabilitation schemes. If they will join co-operatives, they have a better chance of getting piped water, electricity and other facilities which it is not economic to provide for isolated communities.
More immediately, they are given the basic essentials of cultivation -- a bucket, simple tools. When they first get back to their lands, the authorities give them food; but the whole emphasis of the programme is to make it possible for them to feed themselves as soon as possible.
Many of the people being resettle have been years away from the land, so the Department of Agriculture Development, DEVAG, has organised retraining schemes. Some of those attending the classes are illiterate, and instructors use coloured drawings and videotape recordings to illustrate their talks on modern farming techniques. The Department hopes to establish 650 training centres in the ares where most returned refugees are concentrated -- when it can train enough instructors.
The British government has provided 60 tractors to help with the preparation of long-neglected soil for cultivation. The tractor units go from place to place, as they are needed. They are self-sufficient, with their own drivers, spare parts and fuel -- and three British mechanics to keep them in good working order. Heavy demands were made on the tractor units to get the ploughing done in time to get crops planted before the rainy season began in October or November. But most farmers still have to do their ploughing with oxen; and this can be a problem, because it is estimated that about a million cattle died during the war. If oxen are available, the government will lend ploughs -- and show farmers how to adjust them to cut deeper, and improve the yield.
The soil is now ready to receive the seed and fertilizer that is also distributed under the official scheme. The packages contain maize, sorghum, bull-rush millet, ground nuts and cotton seed. These should provide the average Zimbabwean family of seven with food for a year; with seed for next year's plating; and a modest crop for sale. If all goes well, they will then be firmly established as small farmers.