Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Budgeting - rediscovering an ancient skill

Published April 7, 2009
I realized yesterday that, faced with a tumult of orders and expenses, I needed to make up a budget. This would be the first budget in a very long time. That in itself is progress; budgets in multibillion percent inflation are nigh impossible to do. It quickly became apparent that I needed to spend quite lot of money to get the nursery up to the stage where it could cope with the influx of orders. Now another question was raised; what was the bare minimum I needed to spend? I am not pretending that all is well in Zimbabwe and investments will be realized in due course. Oh no. We definitely have not progressed that far and I don’t think the current surge in orders is anything more than just that – a surge.
The Tobacco Research Board out by Harare Airport was once a highly respected organization regionally if not internationally. It is a shadow of its former self now and not a pretty picture to those who knew its illustrious past. Greenhouses lack plastic, seedling trays are piled haphazardly and weeds abound but it was the trays I’d come for. Sold off used at a dollar a piece they were not exactly a bargain but at least they were available and in fair condition. The employee who’d come to help us load the trailer was grumbling that he was still paid in Zim dollars. I’d no idea what he was going to spend them on so not ignoring his hints I brought him a small packet of vegetable seedlings when I returned for the second load. He was very appreciative. He could only have wondered on the injustice of selling seedling trays (donated by UNEP) for real currency to me while he was paid in useless currency.

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