Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

***The views expressed in the articles published on this website DO NOT necessarily express the views of the Commercial Farmers' Union.***

Revisiting Zimbabwe’s land reform exercise

Revisiting Zimbabwe’s land reform exercise

February 16, 2012 12:20 am

By Dr Raymond Chamba

The land reform process was borne out of legitimate historical injustices, 
but the chaotic manner of its enactment has no place in the quest to 
re-establish Zimbabwe’s vaunted place as a breadbasket of Africa.
Dr Raymond Chamba

Agricultural paedophiles and land speculation perverts need to be separated 
away from the real women and men committed to the full time engagement in 
farming. Land is indeed an extension of our very souls, a measure of our 
social and cultural rubric, and a denominator of our political and economic 

It’s far too valuable and precious to be used as a political Valentine gift 
to the inept and clueless denizens scarring our great landscape and feeding 
on the contemptible falsehood of calling themselves “ farmers”!

True land reform involves the legal transfer of land from the powerful to 
the less powerful. If it ends up creating more pockets of inequity and land 
hoarding by new elite then for all purposes it becomes land replacement…the 
virtual transfer of ownership from old powerful minorities to new corrupt 
powerful minorities.

My administration will seek to support true single farm holders, and swiftly 
move to infuse and unlock new capital, certainty, experience, and talent 
from incorporating the old farmers who are still interested in farming. This 
would be done by reducing farm sizes in many instances, taking away farms 
from unproductive farmers, introducing a tax regime that encourages 
production and penalizes multi-farm ownership and land hoarding.

Production will spike when many choose between dodgy civil service work 
commitment and full-time farming. Those who can’t choose will have the 
choice made for them through swift repossession. There is enough land to 
accommodate serious, committed, well capitalized and experienced new and old 
farmers in Zimbabwe.

My administration will quickly move to harness committed old farmers of 
talent and experience and expeditiously move to offer just compensation for 
all their improvements through new commitments from the international 
community that equally wishes to turn a new leaf in its engagement with a 
Zimbabwe that protects private property rights.

A new approach to farming and land ownership is needed in Zimbabwe and what’s 
currently lacking is leadership to think through this differently. There is 
need to create a new category of farm ownership beyond subsistence and 
commercial. This would be new specialized designated and specialized 
intensive industrial farming land.

This would be a cadre of crack farmers drawn from the available pool of our 
experienced white and black farmers that would operate extensive magnet or 
model farms in all the major farming regions of the country. They will 
execute on the mandate that ARDA failed to live up to, through operation of 
national strategic and niche farming areas supported by generous tax 

This qualified tax exemption certification would also be a way to make good 
on some of the outstanding compensation claims from old farmers. Yes, I am 
saying compensate them for improvements as provided for by law through among 
other ways giving them new farms with special tax exemptions provided they 
meet set production quotas.

These magnet farms would act as a training reservoir for the many new 
farmers and farms surrounding them. As full-fledged corporations the new 
extensive, intensive farming operations will accommodate groups of old 
farmers each. Zimbabwe as a nation wins through enhanced food security, and 
unlocking of new international investment capital. We can’t let old farming 
talent go to waste.

There should be an urgent stop to the agricultural nanny-state where mere 
land ownership is readily abused as a looting platform through access to 
cheap loans and agro-inputs. We need to move away from land-banditry to a 
new land-husbandry system that creates clear and tradable security of 
tenure. Farming is a capital intensive undertaking and capital loves the 
comfort of security.

Without security of tenure we can forget national food security and the 
eradication of rural poverty. Land is a great denominator of wealth, and 
thus we need to bring dead rural assets into the economic mainstream by 
crafting new tradable security instruments for communal land. This will help 
break the cycle of poverty by valuing real assets in the hands of our common 

There is no economic value to the perpetuation of the cultural sentimental 
value of rural land as poor subsistence farming lots and favoured 
traditional burial grounds, after all the existing system perpetuates false 
totem-specific division between our common people!

The successful inclusion of new black small farmers into the lucrative 
tobacco sector has been characterised by massive environmental degradation 
of catastrophic proportions. There should be a lot more support that should 
go towards their training in environmentally sustainable farming. It will 
take much massive bio-remediation investment to forestall degradation.

There is no better training than can be responsibly harnessed from the 
readily available pools of farming talent and experience abundantly 
available in our valuable mostly white old farmers. Why kick them out and 
bring the Chinese and others who are plain less able and will take many more 
years to understand our farming. Zeal will never be a substitute for 
competence and experience.

It’s better to shorten the learning curve by bringing in those who have 
acquitted themselves well in this type of endeavour. My administration will 
be open to bringing into the fold white farmers because it will be built on 
the acute realization that the new Zimbabwe we deserve is not an idyllic 
island of happy black natives, but a natural home for all born in it and all 
those who choose to call it home.

Black supremacy is not a freeway to prosperity; our farming like our 
national fabric needs to be fully cognisant of the multi-racial nature of 
our make-up. We are better for it and not weaker, and farming is no 
exception from this realism.

My administration will usher in a new era of great harvests as many 
cell-phone farmers will certainly opt out of the new lean, mean and keen 
non-partisan civil service of all talents. Many are part-time farmers 
because they wish to utilize their various government positions to assure 
themselves slices and crumbs from different agro-support schemes.

Many of the failed farmers are also failed politicians; they keep to their 
politics to guarantee them continued tenuous access to land. These failed 
farmers would also be offered a way out through open selling of their land 
on the land market, thereby unlocking value to themselves and the nation.

It will also be in kind and just consideration to their many years of lost 
savings working in the civil service. With these pockets of inefficiency and 
failure plugged away local farming will be back in a big way.

Our farming has been a handy indicator of our type of politics. We have 
hobbled from one disaster season after another to the extent that we have 
become a nation of disaster creators and experts. However historically and 
economically justified, our series of policing mis-steps have created some 
disaster out of something so justified.

The series of farming disasters we have experienced point to a third hand of 
disaster creation and management. We now have a system of government that 
understands that it will not last when people thrive. It’s no accident that 
agro-inputs are always availed late.

In Zimbabwe immoral, amoral and mediocre people have had the sense enough to 
organize themselves into powerful cartels, and clubs of plunder. The problem 
is that true people of excellence, people of faith, are quick to just 
organize themselves into prayer circles and pray for things to change day in 
and day out pining for divine happenstance.

In 2012 I foresee an action orientation to usher in  the manifestation of 
restorative justice for a people long abused. “We are the change we seek” 
and one of the first ports of call for change in my administration would 
certainly be land and agricultural reform policing and implementation.

Dr. Raymond Chamba- Presidential Candidate (Independent)


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