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Published: April 5, 2009
By Amina Accram, Kenya
More than 3 000 Kenyan farmers have benefited from the influx of white Zimbabwean farmers who have settled in the country. The farmers are making a new life for themselves after being kicked out of their land back home.
The farmers’ admit that their transition from Zimbabwe to Kenya hasn’t been easy. Earthoil Operations Director, Wyne Barratt says they grew about 800 000 hectares of wheat and soy beans a year while in Zimbabwe. He also concedes that they had a big cattle industry but unfortunately all has been lost after they were chased out of their country.
In Kenya, Barratt’s oil processing company needs higher energy and labour costs than it did in Zimbabwe. Not many small scale farmers in Kenya plant crops for vegetable and essential oils. His company buys crops rich in vegetable and essential oils from small scale farmers in East Africa. Oils are then extracted from the plants exported to cosmetic markets in the United States, Europe and Asia.
Barratt says even though his move has worked out, he still yearns for the country which was once his home. He believes that Zimbabwean farmers have something positive to give to the agricultural sector, wherever they go. The Kenyan agricultural community has welcomed the new farmers. (ZimEye,Zimbabwe)