Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Zimbabwe program would give farmland to Chinese investors

Zimbabwe program would give farmland to Chinese investors

White farmers in Zimbabwe continue to have land seized while a proposed 
government program, aimed at helping new black farmers, would give away land 
to Chinese investors.

News DeskMay 12, 2011 05:23

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — While white farmers in Zimbabwe have had their 
land violently seized, the government will be giving away farmland to 
Chinese investors under a proposed program aimed at helping new black 

The “twinning” program, reported by Zimbabwe state media on Wednesday, would 
pair new black farmers in Mashonaland East province, one of the country’s 
most fertile areas, with investors from China’s Hubei province. The farmers 
will give part of their land to the Chinese, and in return will get funding 
and the Chinese will buy their produce.

President Robert Mugabe’s government began brutal seizures of white-owned 
farms in 2000, giving them out to friends of the regime, many of whom had 
little interest or experience in farming. Zimbabwe’s agriculture-based 
economy, once the envy of Africa, has since collapsed and the country now 
regularly faces acute food shortages.

Zimbabwe’s government mouthpiece, The Herald, reports that the program will 
see new farmers giving the Chinese investors part of their land, while the 
investors will in turn fund farming operations, including developing new 
infrastructure on the farms.

Mashonaland East Governor Aeneas Chigwedere said that the province has 
drafted a memorandum of understanding with the Chinese, yet to be signed, 
that would see farmers enter into a 25-year renewable contract with the 
Chinese, with a six-month notice required for cancellation.

“Our thrust at the moment is to increase agricultural productivity and we 
are starting next season with tobacco then we will proceed to horticulture, 
poultry, pig and cattle production,” Chigwedere told The Herald.

A controversial new law in Zimbabwe requires businesses to be majority-owned 
by “indigenous” Zimbabwean citizens. However, some Chinese businesses have 
been exempted from complying with the new regulation, which requires 
foreign-owned companies to be 51 percent owned by indigenous Zimbabweans.

Last week, a delegation from Hubei province in China reportedly toured farms 
in Zimbabwe owned by individuals and government institutions including 
Grasslands Research Station, Mashonaland East Police Farm and the Prison 
Farm, the paper reports.

These farms will reportedly “identify excess land and give it to their Hubei 

A representative from Hubei said that the Chinese became interested in the 
“twinning” program after realizing that new farmers in Zimbabwe lacked the 
capability to make full use of their land.

“The program can even bring more business to Mashonaland East other than 
agricultural. We will in due course organize exchange visits in which 
farmers from either country will visit each other to exchange notes,” Li 
Song, chairwoman of the Hubei Business Council, told The Herald.


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