Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Farmers get nod to lease farms

Farmers get nod to lease farms 

Tabitha Mutenga Features Editor

Financial Gazette


NEWLY resettled farmers have been granted permission by government to sub-let their farms in an effort to promote increased agriculture production. 

Agriculture minister Perrance Shiri said the new administration is not against the sub-leasing of farms, but concerned about turning farming into a productive business. 

“On sub-leasing of farms; if you have a farm and you have proper doc­umentation, that is an offer letter or a 99- year lease, you can go ahead. What we are interested in as government is to make sure that the land is fully utilised, it is being productive,” he said. 

“As to the arrangement on the farm of who exactly is tilling the land, that is not much of our business. Previously, we used to discourage sub-letting of farms but with the new dispensation, we have said farming is a business. Let the farmers make business decisions. If they want to till the land with partners, if they want joint ventures, it is up to them but we encourage farmers to have whatever agreements they enter into endorsed by the ministry to ensure that the interests of both parties are adequately protected,” Shiri said. 

The previous administration was against the sub-letting of farms as it viewed the action as a reversal of the land reform gains. 

Government is currently working on a comprehensive land audit that will guide the redistribution of land. The au­dit will also establish the extent of utili­sation and address the imbalances of the land reform programme, with a view to come up with ways of improving agricultural production. 

Based on the preliminary results of the land audit, the ministry of Ag­riculture has begun evicting all illegal settlers, who Shiri described as an im­pediment to productivity and viability of agriculture as a business. 

He made no apologies for the evictions, stressing that illegal sett lei’s would he removed, despite an outcry from some Parliamentarians. 

“Dealing with illegal settlements is also a strong statement against corrup­tion as most of die settlers paid people to be settled where they are. We are saving that if you are illegal, you are illegal regardless of your having stayed in that area for a long time. So we are compelled to ensure that we correct the situation, otherwise we stand to suffer irreparable environmental damage in the long term if we turn our country into a desert. Turning it back into viable land may not be easy,” Shiri said. 

He added that government was aware of the huge demand for land and was committed to assist. 

Steps taken so far include repossess­ing abandoned and/or unoccupied sub­divisions, downsizing farms exceeding maximum farm sizes as per Statutory Instrument 288 of 2000 and repossess­ing land from multiple farm owners. 

“However, it is important to note that given the size of the country (fi­nite), it is not possible for every appli­cant to get land. As such, as a nation, we should support those allocated land to be productive and feed into industry to open up opportunities for others to par­ticipate in the economy.”

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