‘Speculative holding of land hindering agric production’

Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa presents his 2018 National Budget proposals in Parliament yesterday

Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa presents his 2018 National Budget proposals in Parliament yesterday

Herald Reporter
Zimbabwe is failing to realise maximum gains from the agriculture sector due to idle land that has become dead capital and being held for speculative purposes, Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa has said.

Presenting 2018 National Budget estimates in Harare yesterday, Minister Chinamasa called for urgent implementation of the land audit to flush out speculators.

“In this regard, appropriate remedial measures to address prevailing idle tracts of previously productive land in order to improve agricultural production in the country, will be guided by results from the comprehensive land audits,” he said.

“Having completed the land reform programme, Government is moving to undertake periodic land audits through the Land Commission, established and operationalised in June 2016, with the mandate of ensuring accountability, fairness and transparency in the administration of agricultural land vested in the State.”

The necessary preparations for the land audits were now at an advanced stage, said Minister Chinamasa.

“Through this process, issues of multi-farm ownership, idle land and under-utilisation of land are going to be identified,” he said.

President Mnangagwa in his inauguration speech, pointed out that under the new order, Government’s economic policy will also be anchored on agriculture.

As such, beneficiaries of the land reform programme are required to fully utilise the land and improve on productivity.

He said Government is urgently addressing all issues related to land tenure in order to bring finality and closure to the management and ownership of land, critical for improved land utilisation.

Minister Chinamasa said to address security of tenure, especially with respect to the A2 resettlement model, Government introduced the 99-year lease, as a tool for formalising occupancy of re-distributed farms to beneficiaries.

“To give confidence to beneficiaries that their occupancy is guaranteed, and cannot be withdrawn willy nilly, through the indiscipline of either youths, political leaders, traditional leaders or senior officials, Government is undertaking to institute measures to strengthen the legal standing of offer letters and 99-year leases.”

This, Minister Chinamasa said, would enable the much needed farm investments and improved utilisation of land, leading to high productivity.

He said it was disheartening that the pace at which farm valuations were being undertaken was limited, resulting in very few issuances of the land leases.

“It, therefore, follows that the proportion of 99-year lease issuances against the number of beneficiaries remains negligible, constraining financing by financial institutions and in the process, perpetuating farm land as dead capital,” said Minister Chinamasa.

“Going forward, through the 2018 Budget onwards, Government will set aside resources for strengthening capacity of the Surveyor General’s Department to scale up conduct of farm surveys, instead of outsourcing, for rapid issuance of 99 Year Leases.”

Over 300 000 families benefited from the fast track land reform programme implemented in 1999.

Pin It
  • Jemedzo

    My suggestion on the land audit issue is it should not be guided by the usage of the land only. The process of land allocation and use by blacks has a history that need to be discussed wholistically.
    When blacks repossessed their land in 2000 there were working systems that enabled land owners to produce and make a living from it but certain factors came into play and people started to find it difficult to use the land. Therefore those exogenous factors have to be addressed first before we start talking of audit.
    Firstly, inputs could still be sourced on the market at affordable prices
    Secondly marketing of produce was straightforward and organized
    Thirdly, payment systems were in place and people had confidence in the banking system.
    Fourthly, there was no politicizing of all assistance by non-governmental organizations.
    Finally, we need to put back value on land so that those who braved to go on the land can benefit by selling to those who wish to by land as long as we control sell to foreigners. This will create economic activity and start to create a local economic market.
    I could go on and on, over this subject; perhaps there is need for a discussion forum where people can attend to give ideas to a think tank commission on economic activity.

  • Ray Mbada

    I suggest the Chief and Sabhukus should either be fined or punished for hiding lazy grabbers who only visit once or twice per year to buy beer for them so they guard against these vast lands. Also, if the state can make sure that inputs are either subsidised or simply be sold at designated prices it will help much since retailers are making procurement of such products a nightmare for farmers who would have traveled long distances to reach the shops in town. Instead of ministers owning the hardware around, let Z.F.C. sell to farmers under subsidised, controlled and affordable prices, let’s control the prices and probably make sure no artificial shortages are created.

    Selling such commodities should not be left to everyone because some hooligans are painting maize and selling to the farmers who will only realise it after the season has already gone by.