Government Backtracks On Repossessing Unproductive Land
…targets downsizing big farms
HARARE – Government has stumbled on its own word to repossess unproductive farms distributed under the continuous Land Reform Programme, with the Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement arguing that the farms needed funding and backing instead of being repossessed.
Speaking in Senate on Thursday, Deputy Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement Berita Chikwama said that her Ministry was now investing more effort in downsizing large farms.
“We are not going to repossess any unproductive farm as we never capacitated those farms in any way.
“We are however going to downsize larger farms for land redistribution,” said Chikwama.
This statement quashed threats by government in June this year that it will repossess unproductive farms with one state owned weekly paper stating that the ministry had already drafted 38 farms for repossession.
The Land Reform Programme which was launched in 2000 by the Robert Mugabe government saw some 4,000 white farmers losing their farms as Mugabe repossessed them for redistribution to the majority black populace.
The programme has been blamed for the country’s economic decline although last year’s Command Agriculture, initiated by vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa, seems to have registered considerable gains.