Farm rationalisation intensifies
GOVERNMENT has deployed a probe team into farms to draw information on occupancy, utilisation and cases of sub-letting as the optimisation of agricultural production gathers momentum.
The Sunday Mail understands that a fact-finding team is currently in Mashonaland West Province to visit at least 300 farms before compiling a report for submission to the Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement.
Recommendations from the team, which will visit all eight agricultural provinces, are expected to guide the Government in the current drive to downsize and distribute idle land.
Secretary for Lands and Rural Resettlement Ambassador Grace Mutandiro said the exercise is part of the farm rationalisation programme.
“We have a team in Mashonaland West targeting about 300 farms to find out the value of the farms, occupancy, utilisation and all other related aspects,” she said.
“We have also received reports of farm leasing and we are verifying the reports. If we verify the reports to be true, we will summon those implicated since no one is allowed to form any partnerships in the use of land without Government’s approval.”
The farm investigations come a few months after President Mugabe warned people against leasing out land, especially to the former white farmers whom he accused of launching a calculative move to return to the farms.
Government is downsizing and reallocating underutilised farms to potentially productive local land seekers.
Ambassador Mutandiro emphasised that the exercise is not a reversal of land reforms, but rather an enhancement as Government revitalises agriculture.