Brighton Gumbo Business Reporter
THE Ministry of Lands and Rural Settlement has started issuing new land settlement permits to A1 farmers across the country’s eight provinces. President Robert Mugabe officially launched the new A1 farmers’ permits framework in July last year. The documents are expected to bring sanity to the land redistribution process by centralising the issuance of land and land permits.
The new system replaces offer letters, which A1 farmers had been using before they were condemned for involving several stages, creating confusion in the process. Lands and Rural Settlement Minister, Douglas Mombeshora, told Business Chronicle that over 700 families have benefited from the initial phase of the issuing of permits in Masvingo province alone.
“Two weeks ago we were issuing permits to A1 farmers in Bubi and a week before we were in Masvingo,” he said. Mombeshora said the national rollout of permits was expected to be complete by 2018. The permit, much like the 99-year lease, gives land ownership to the recipient as it is for an indefinite period.
For an A1 permit to be issued, there has to be a farm lay-out, which clearly stipulates the different plots that each beneficiary will have. Among benefits of the A1 permit is that it is subject to inheritance laws, making women in polygamous marriages liable to be equal beneficiaries of the land.
Since the land reform started in 2000, A1 farmers did not have ownership documents, a situation which created challenges for the farmers and the ministry. President Mugabe has said the new permits were a step towards empowering Zimbabweans as they offer security of tenure.
The permits encourage investment on the land and can be used as collateral to secure loans from banks. Over 220,000 farmers are expected to get the documents countrywide.