Thursday, 20 October 2016

MNANGAGWA : UNDERUTILISED LAND TO BE REPOSSESSED

Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa has cautioned idle farmers that they risk having their land repossessed if they do not fully utilise it.

His warning is on the back of the Lands and Rural Resettlement ministry commissioning a survey to ascertain land use following concerns that most resettled farms are grossly under-utilised.

Speaking at a field day in Makonde, Mashonaland West, on Tuesday — where he commissioned $300 000 worth of equipment at Brink Bosman’s farm — Mnangagwa said many farmers were not fully utilising allocated land.
 

“Those farms that are lying idle will be taken and incorporated into productive farms,” Mnangagwa said, adding that “we want full benefit from the land”.

“Let me assure you, if you are a farmer and near water and not doing irrigation because you say you do not like it, we will remove you from water and put you where there is no water and get someone who can use the water,” he further said.
 

In 2000, government backed a vicious war veterans-led land reform programme which saw the seizure of hundreds of white-owned farms.

However, since the land seizure — which led to a drastic reduction in the country’s agricultural productivity and consequent decimation of the economy — most farms are lying idle.
 

Mnangagwa’s counterpart, Phelekezela Mphoko, is on record saying resettled farmers have shamed President Robert Mugabe as they have failed to utilise farm land. Last year, government gazetted 23 white-owned farms it intended to seize in Umguza, Umzingwane, Matobo, Mazowe, Marondera and Insiza.

Mnangagwa told wheat farmers that once farms are properly utilised, Zimbabwe would reach full food sufficiency in the next three or four seasons.


He added that government is currently conducting an audit of water bodies and quantifying the hectarage they can irrigate per season.
 

Mnangagwa said the country needs to have a lot of dams and weirs which will supplement irrigations equipment being introduced into farming.

“We want to reach a stage where no hectarage under irrigation will not produce grain for the country — drought or no drought. Kune vaya vasingade zvemishina vasiyei vanongosara vogozoti takaroyiwa…zvinoita kusaziva (To some who do not want to be part of the mechanisation schemes and prefer zero tillage, leave them behind and they will later claim witchcraft),” the vice president said.
 

Mnangagwa also said the private sector is open to take part in agriculture and where not possible invest in the sector for increased productivity and access to grains in the country.
He also said farmers must be prepared because as the country introduces more technology there is a danger of unemployment.
 

The vice president, however, noted because the world is becoming more technologically advanced farmers should not be worried as it is inevitable.

“The more you are mechanised the higher the yield and more likely farmers will go beyond break-even point. We want to reach a time where we will feel free to export,” he said. daily news

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