Thursday, 19 August 2021

WE HAVE RUN OUT OF RESETTLEMENT LAND : GOVT

ZIMBABWE has run out of farmland for 250 000 prospective farmers who are on the waiting list.

This was revealed by Lands minister Anxious Masuka during question and answer session in the National Assembly on Wednesday.

Masuka told MPs that the high demand for land had been caused by a rise in the number of people who have developed an interest in farming. He, however, warned that the chances of them getting land were slim.

“Allow me to repeat, as of now most of the land has been distributed. If you go around, you will not find a place that is vacant, even where there is no farming taking place. But in the registry, these farms have owners,” Masuka said.

He said the ministry was targeting multiple farm owners to get land to allocate other prospective farmers. He also said those underutilising land would lose the farms.

“We are happy that people have seen that it is important and fruitful and beneficial to engage in farming,” Masuka said.

“We now have more than 250 000 people who are on the waiting list. Those whom we gave farms in A2 are only 20 000. We are now looking at downsizing farms and redistributing it to others. The opportunity to get a farm is slim as of now.

He added: “This is how we distribute these farms: you go to the district lands committee to register your name. The committee will sit down and deliberate on the issue on where they can actually give someone land.

“They will take that to the provincial lands committee.  Then the ministry will also look at it and the minister will give an offer letter. It does not mean that someone can just wake up and get a farm. It takes a long period, depending on where there is a place which is vacant.”

MPs pointed out that in a ministerial statement which Masuka presented before the House last year; the Lands minister had promised that all those on the waiting list would be issued land.

They demanded that he must explain issues pertaining to offer letters for those that had already been allocated the land.

Legislators also argued that a lot of farmland across the country was being underutilised, hence the need to the land question.

Masuka is expected to issue another ministerial statement in the House next week, which will detail the list of farms that were offered for settlement. The issue of land has been a hot potato since the launch of the often chaotic land reform programme in 2000.

Since then, the programme has been characterised by ownership disputes among the beneficiaries.

A number of ministers and government bureaucrats have been cited as multiple farm owners. Newsday

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