Government is conducting a comprehensive land audit with the view to down size some of the large farms,improve production on under-utilized farms and curb multiple farm ownership,Vice President Constantino Chiwenga has revealed.
Addressing stakeholders at the Annual Agribusiness Conference held at the Zimbabwe Agricultural Society Exhibition today,Chiwenga said government is also working on compensating former white farmers and those with farms that fall under the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements.
“In terms of land ownership vis a vis collateral security,it is generally agreed that the 99 year leases are bankable.Efforts are also underway to put the land question to rest by compensating former white farmers and those farms that fall under the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (BIPPAs) for improvements done on the farms,” he said.
He added that Zimbabwe has been ranked the third largest producer of tobacco after China and Brazil.
“The country has also registered milestones in tobacco production,in 2017/18 the quality delivered surpassed the record of 237 million kilograms of tobacco that was achieved in year 2000.
“This year we have reached 250 million kilograms.With this achievement,l am reliably informed that this makes Zimbabwe the third largest producer of the leaf after the People’s Republic of China and Brazil.
“Not withstanding these successes,agriculture financing remains a major challenge to the sector and l am aware of the efforts by various financial institutions to reach out to farmers but the challenge remains that of the high cost of loans.
“In that regard,l would like to encourage beneficiary farmers of any agro-finance scheme to service their loans,especially my colleagues in Government,” he said.
Fewer than 400 white farmers are still operating in the Southern African nation, after former president Robert Mugabe’s government evicted more than 4,000 under the land reform programme.
Zimbabwe has recorded massive multiple land ownership following a chaotic land reform exercise that replaced white commercial farmers with black citizens.
Most of the multiple land owners are linked to Thebes ruling Zanu PF party including big wigs and it remains to be seen how government will effectively implement its move to repossess the land.