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Zimbabwe starts repossessing under utilized farms

Christian Fernsby |
The Zimbabwean government has started the process of repossessing under utilized, vacant and abandoned farms to ensure that land is fully utilized, the Chronicle newspaper reported Monday, citing a government minister.

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Speaking during the launch of a traditional agricultural social security scheme in Zvishavane, southern Zimbabwe, on Saturday, Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister Anxious Masuka said government has started implementing the one-man one-farm policy so that landless Zimbabweans can be allocated land.

"Government will from Monday start the exercise of repossessing land from multiple-farm owners, those who have abandoned the land and those who are underutilizing the land.

"The repossessed land will be allocated to the landless as we push to achieve the agricultural revolution aimed at making the country food secure," the Chronicle quoted Masuka as saying.

Masuka said multiple-farm owners will be left with one farm, those underutilizing the land will lose the portion that is not being utilized, and that abandoned or vacant land will be repossessed.

Zimbabwe now imports grain to address a food deficit due to droughts and failure to fully utilize farmland by some farmers who benefited from a Land Reform Program.

The program, which began at the turn of the millennium, aimed at redistributing land from white-owned farms and estates, as well as state lands, to more than 150,000 black farmers under the so-called A1 and A2 models.

The A1 model allocated small plots for growing crops and grazing land to landless and poor farmers, while the A2 model allocated farms to new black commercial farmers with skills and resources to farm profitably and raise agricultural productivity.

Masuka said farmers who were allocated A1 and A2 farms but have no capital to embark on meaningful production will be allowed to go into joint ventures subject to government approval.

Agriculture is the backbone of Zimbabwe's economy, providing employment and income to more than 60 percent of the country's population, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

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