Farms up for re­dis­tri­bu­tion: Min­is­ter Mombeshora

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - NEWS - Lin­coln Towindo

GOV­ERN­MENT is re­pos­sess­ing farms from un­pro­duc­tive land re­form ben­e­fi­cia­ries and re­dis­tribut­ing them to land-hun­gry Zim­bab­weans to op­ti­mise agri­cul­tural pro­duc­tion.

The Lands and Ru­ral Re­set­tle­ment Min­istry has no­ti­fied 38 farm­ers, mainly in Mashona­land East, that it will soon re­voke of­fer let­ters giv­ing them ti­tle to land.

Provin­cial lands com­mit­tees are also on the ground in­spect­ing farms in their re­spec­tive ju­ris­dic­tions with a view to weed­ing out un­pro­duc­tive prop­erty-hold­ers.

Fur­ther, dis­pro­por­tion­ately large farms are be­ing ra­tio­nalised, with ex­pert teams comb­ing through dis­tricts us­ing a cen­tral data­base.

The Sun­day Mail un­der­stands some farm­ers are vol­un­tar­ily re­quest­ing the teams to down­size their prop­er­ties af­ter fail­ing to un­lock their op­ti­mal value.

Lands Min­is­ter Dr Dou­glas Mombeshora told this pa­per that there were more than 500 000 ap­pli­cants await­ing re­set­tle­ment.

Pres­i­dent Mu­gabe has ex­plained that the re­al­lo­ca­tions and down­siz­ing are not a re­ver­sal of land re­forms, but rather an en­hance­ment of them as Gov­ern­ment pro­ceeds with its mas­sive in­vest­ment in re­vi­tal­is­ing agri­cul­ture.

The in­vest­ment in agri­cul­ture has in­cluded pour­ing mil­lions into pro­duc­tion via the Pres­i­den­tial Well-Wish­ers In­puts Sup­port Scheme and Com­mand Agri­cul­ture.

Dr Mom­neshora said, “What we are do­ing is part of farm ra­tio­nal­i­sa­tion in line with Gov­ern­ment pol­icy to en­sure max­i­mum us­age of all agri­cul­ture land in the coun­try.

“We have been flight­ing no­tices in news­pa­pers where we are ad­vis­ing of­fer let­ter hold­ers who are not us­ing their land that we in­tend to can­cel those of­fer let­ters.

“What we are do­ing now is iden­ti­fy­ing farms and plots where land is not be­ing utilised at all or not be­ing used to its po­ten­tial with a view to dis­tribut­ing it to oth­ers.

“In terms of the law, we have the op­tion of send­ing let­ters to the of­fer let­ter holder’s given home ad­dress, their farms or pub­lish­ing a no­tice in a na­tional news­pa­per, ad­vis­ing them of our in­ten­tion. But what we are do­ing across the coun­try right now is send out teams, led by provin­cial lands of­fi­cers, to in­spect farms in or­der to as­cer­tain whether they are be­ing utilised or not.

“In cases where the farm is very large and is be­ing un­der­utilised, we have the op­tion of down­siz­ing; that is tak­ing back part of the farm with a view of giv­ing it to oth­ers.

“In cases where the land is not be­ing utilised at all, we have the op­tion of with­draw­ing the of­fer let­ter. This is all part of the broader Farm Ra­tio­nal­i­sa­tion Pro­gramme, which Gov­ern­ment is im­ple­ment­ing as part of the fi­nal­i­sa­tion of the Land Re­form Pro­gramme.”

Over 14 mil­lion hectares of land has been re­dis­tributed to indige­nous farm­ers since 1980.

An au­dit by a Gov­ern­ment-ap­pointed com­mit­tee in 2015 showed that sev­eral top State of­fi­cials, in­clud­ing min­is­ters, have vast swathes of land and some are fail­ing to fully utilise them.

The au­dit re­vealed that 70 farms in Mid­lands far ex­ceeded the max­i­mum rec­om­mended sizes of 500ha.

Min­is­ter Mombeshora

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