THE Masvingo provincial leadership has recommended 10 white farmers to remain on their properties after resolving that their operations were of strategic economic importance to the province. The farmers are into hybrid cattle production, dairy farming and chicken rearing in Mwenezi, Masvingo and Gutu districts where their operations were benefiting surrounding communities and the economy at large.
Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister Senator Shuvai Mahofa said Cabinet would make a decision of the fate of the farmers. ‘’We were asked to write a list of white farmers that we thought should remain on their properties on the basis of the development they were bringing to the province and the provincial lands committee agreed to recommend 10 white farmers,’’ she said.
‘’We, however, don’t know what will happen to these farmers or whether they’ll get offer letters or not, that’ll be a Cabinet decision and we’re waiting to be told what to do with the farmers in question.”
Lands and Rural Resettlement Minister Douglas Mombeshora is on record saying white farmers would be given security of tenure documents on the strength of their proven record of wanting to serve Zimbabwe’s interests.
Hellen Mitchell, who produces about 100,000 day-old chicks per week at her Barquest Farm on the shores of Lake Mutirikwi, is among the 10 farmers to be spared.
Mitchell was at one time involved in a battle for control of Barquest with Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Engineer Walter Mzembi after the latter was issued an offer letter to take over part of the 367-hectare property that had been gazetted for acquisition under the land reform programme.
Sen Mahofa came to Mitchell’s rescue, saying operations at her farm were of strategic importance to Masvingo Province hence it was supposed to be left in Mitchell’s hands.
Before the land reform programme, Masvingo had nearly 200 white farmers concentrated mainly in Masvingo, Chiredzi, Gutu and Mwenezi districts. chronicle