Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Dr Joseph Made has urged developmental agencies to concentrate on assisting farmers, stressing that their penchant to debate the land issue was a lost cause.
Speaking at the launch of a project on strengthening the national sanitary and phytosanitary institutional framework in Zimbabwe, funded under the European Union support to the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Dr Made said the land issue was a closed chapter.
Sanitary and phytosanitary refers to measures taken to ensure human, animal and plant health.
“The land issue in Zimbabwe is totally irreversible. In another forum, jointly with the EU, we are addressing the matter relating to security of tenure.
“Government is addressing the land tenure issues. Farmers who benefited from the land reform will get A1 permits or 99-year leases for A2 farmers. There is an exercise underway in relation to land compensation.
“This debate should not concern us but total focus should be put on supporting those farmers to produce. We have A1, A2 and old resettlement farmers who benefited under the land reform.
He said the phytosanitary project would boost Zimbabwe’s capacity for implementing the EU-ESA interim Economic Partnership Agreement.
Other parties to the agreement are Madagascar, Seychelles and Mauritius.
This agreement seeks to enhance trade with the EU through elimination of quotas and duties for imports from parties to the agreement as well as gradual liberalisation of exports to them.
Zimbabwe ratified the interim Economic Partnership Agreement in 2012 but is yet to implement the agreement due to a number of challenges which include the absence of a legislative framework and procedures to facilitate the implementation of the agreement and the requisite capacity.
This project is being implemented by the National Sanitary and Phytosanitary Committee, which is currently chaired by the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development.
Beneficiaries of the project include Plant Quarantine Services, Division of Veterinary Services, National Biotechnology Authority, Government Analyst Laboratory and Environmental Health Department.
EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Phillipe Van Damme said to access EU markets, exporters should conform to the technical and safety standards and should meet high quality standards. herald