ZIMBABWE: LAND/THE HERALD/1/2/18 SABANews 1
HARARE – ZIMBABWE is heading to a big change in the farming sector after a government policy shift on allocation of land to displaced white farmers and those still on their properties.
The EMMERSON MNANGAGWA Administration has directed all regional and district offices to abandon the regulation that restricts white citizens to FIVE-year farm leases.
A statement from the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, and Rural Resettlement says the former and current white commercial farmers should now get 99-year leases just like anyone else.
THE HERALD says the development echoes the call by the new Head of State to restore confidence in agriculture, which had almost crumbled due to the violent farm invasions of 17 years ago.
It says the COMMERCIAL FARMERS’ UNION, which represents mostly the former white producers, has commended the announced policy shift.
However, Union Director BEN GIPLIN says his organisation has not received what he calls a formal communication – but they are very encouraged.
He says white farmers want more clarity on what will happen to their members who are still on their farms but do not hold offer letters introduced in the land regulations just reversed.
After the violent repossession of farms, the State had TWO conditions for allocation, with whites getting FIVE-year leases and offer letters, and blacks getting 99-year leases with offer letters.
Mr GIPLIN says only a small number of the 200 whites who managed to remain on their properties have the lease deals and the offer letters: while those without are exposed to eviction any time.
Nevertheless, President MNANGAGWA has encouraged all displaced former commercial farmers to return and apply for land.
The ZIMBABWEAN Government has pledged to compensate white farmers for the losses suffered in the land invasions, and has banned new illegal farm occupations./Sabanews/cam