Rhodesia's farmers, who are barely coping with the problems caused by the six-year bush war, and now facing another foe...
GV grain silo
GV & CLOSE UP AT maize crops in the fields (SIX SHOTS)
SV armed farmers inspecting crops (FOUR SHOTS)
CU farmer being interviewed about maize shortage (TWO SHOTS
REPORTER: "What is the future then for maize. It is the staple crop of, not only Rhodesia, but Africa also.
What is the future for the maize crop in Rhodesia?
STRYDOM: "Well, unless the government pay a better price for maize, I'm afraid farmers can no longer grow it."
REPORTER: "How do you feel the loss of the maize crop would affect the new government coming in after the transitional government hands over?"
STRYDOM: "You know, they are going to have problems, feeding the population. The population is not getting smaller, it is getting bigger, and we are just going to have to have maize to feed them. And we must grow it. We can grow it if the government will pay a better price to the end product."
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Background: Rhodesia's farmers, who are barely coping with the problems caused by the six-year bush war, and now facing another foe...drought. The crops are burning up in the fields and so bad has the situation become that farmers are now preparing to abandon the whole 1979 maize crop.
SYNOPSIS: Rhodesia's maize silos stand empty. The country which used to export maize to South Africa, Zambia and Mozambique may be forced to actually import the crop next year. Karoi, in north east Rhodesia, used to be a big maize producing area. Worst hit by the drought, burnt-out maize plants, and weed.
With the price of maize having already fallen, and production costs soaring because of guerrilla activity and trade sanctions Rhodesia's armed farmers are now prepared to raise only enough for their own consumption. The three month drought has caused fields that once produced thirty five bags per acre (per 1/2 hectares) to yield only Give. The staple southern African diet, these plants are now of interest only to grazing cattle. If the strain on an economy already sapped by the war could be intolerable. Conrad Strydom spoke the local farmers.