Inflation hits agriculture in Zimbabwe

Battling the world's highest annual rate of inflation, which is around 1,200 per cent now, Zimbabwe is facing a serious deadlock over monthly wages.

Agriculture is the worst hit, as the worsening condition of service on farms has hastened the exodus of workers. Commercial farmers and agricultural experts warn that the exodus could further cripple the country's agricultural production. Of an estimated 320,000 to 350,000 agricultural workers in 2000 (when the fast-track land reform process began), only about 100,000 workers were employed in commercial farms by 2003.

Tobacco farming, which relies heavily on consistent and skilled labour, is also seriously affected.

Due to economic inflation, lecturers of state-owned institutions, too, have joined civil servants, doctors and nurses to go on strike. In November 2006, health officials resumed their services after the un intervention. In the second week of January, 2007, the government announced a 300 per cent salary hike to civil servants, but they have reportedly rejected the offer.