Harare, Sep. 27 (ANI): Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s wife has established a giant dairy on the country’s nationalized farm-land, supplying a million litres of milk a year to Nestlé food giant.
Grace Mugabe set up Gushungo Dairy Estate in Mazowe following the ouster of the previous white owner of the farm, who was forced to sell the land to the state’s Agricultural Rural Development Authority, after facing a violent campaign under the land seizure drive.
The Telegraph quoted workers at the 2,400-acre property, producing 6,500 litres of milk a day, as saying that it is now her farm, managed by Russell Goreraza, her son from her first marriage.
Her biggest customer, according to her staff and other industry insiders, is Nestlé Zimbabwe, the local subsidiary of the Swiss company.
A spokesman at Nestlé’s global headquarters in Switzerland said: “In early 2009 the company started purchasing milk on the open market from various suppliers on a strictly non-contractual basis.
“In certain instances the milk available in the market would be from Gushungo Dairy Estate. We bought Gushungo Dairy Estate’s milk through Dorkin Dairies until that firm collapsed last February, then we bought the milk directly.”
Mugabe, his wife and a number of other figures linked to his administration are the subject of European Union and US sanctions as a result of their controversial 29-year rule.
Nestlé is not obliged to comply with those sanctions as its headquarters are in Switzerland, but the country has its own set of measures, including against Mugabe, among which it “is forbidden to make funds available to persons mentioned.”
President Mugabe himself set up a 10,000-acre secret farming empire out of the land seized from more than 4,000 white commercial farmers, it recently emerged.
The disclosures are first evidences of how Mughabes personally benefited from the nationalization of the farmland drive that began in 2000, destroying Zimbabwe’s agriculture industry, the bedrock of the economy.
Many Zimbabweans blame Mugabe for her husband’s descent into misrule and fixation on financial gain.
With a penchant for lurid dresses, often from expensive European designers, and matching head gear, Mugabe is famous for her extravagant shopping trips abroad – during one of which, in February, she was approached by a press photographer outside a hotel in Hong Kong, and responded by smashing her jewel-encrusted fist into his face. (ANI)
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