Sikhulekelani Moyo, Business Reporter
GOVERNMENT says it will not hesitate to take back abandoned and underutilised farms and give them to those who can productively utilise them for national economic benefit.
While a majority of farmers benefitted under the country’s successful land reform programme at the turn of the millennium, the Government has expressed concern that some of the land was lying idle at a time when the national food security drive is on full swing.
Through increased fiscal incentives, mechanisation, extension services support and development partner facilitation, the Government has been on the forefront in capacitating local farmers to produce not just enough for the nation’s consumption but surplus for export and beefing up strategic reserves.
Speaking during the Zimbabwe Farmers Union 82nd congress in Gweru last week, Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Fisheries and Rural Development, Dr Anxious Masuka, warned that unproductive land will be forfeited to the State and given to those who can reap something from it.
“There is certain criteria for taking land from you. The first one is multiple farm ownership because policy says one family one farm, and the second criteria is abandoned farms, those will be taken and given to deserving Zimbabweans,” said the minister.
“We also have underutilised farms and this is the bulk of the farms that we are repossessing and replanning.
“If for example, you have been given 50 hectares over the years and you have been utilising half a hectare, we will take the other part and give to deserving Zimbabweans.”
Commenting separately, Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce vice president Mr Golden Muoni has also challenged farmers to play their part to bring fruit from increased Government support and ensure the land they have is fully productive for the benefit of the country.
He said it was worrying that some farmers are more concerned about consumption than production, which slows down economic progress and exposes the country to imports. — @SikhulekelaniM1