White farmers turned Rhodesia into the breadbasket of the region

Living in Rhodesia in ’76, Dalrymple read up on the question of land distribution. He

came to the utopian (and false) conclusion that a reform in which white-owned commercial farmland was redistributed to African peasants could serve the cause of justice without reducing production.

The whites, he writes,

were 5% of the population and owned half the land (the better half too). The commercial farmers among them were a small minority of a small minority. There was no doubt that at the historic root of their ownership (not very far back in time, either) was the ruthless use of force and fraud. There was also no doubt that they had turned Rhodesia into the breadbasket of the whole region.

Land expropriation, when it came,

neither served justice nor preserved production. It was not the peasants who benefited from it, but the régime’s cronies.

Production fell 90%

and turned a country that had long been a magnet for immigration into one of mass emigration. The alternative to mass emigration was mass starvation. The land expropriation played its part in Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation, one of the most dramatic in history.

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