Elita Chikwati Agriculture Reporter
Government will consider issuing out 99-year leases to dairy farmers to promote production, and ensure self-sufficiency.
This came out at the Zimbabwe Association of Dairy Farmers annual general meeting held in Harare yesterday.
Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement Deputy Minister Bertha Chikwama also assured dairy farmers of protection against acquisition of their farms as the sector was important to the economy.
She was responding to the ZADF chairman, Mr Emmanuel Zimbandu who complained that security of tenure was a major challenge affecting the sector.
Mr Zimbandu said the dairy business was not short term, and required confidence to enable investment in the sector.
Cde Chikwama said Government had come up with measures to ensure dairy farms were exempted from acquisition.
“Government came up with five-year leases for the dairy farmers, and may also consider issuing out 99-year leases.
“We have given some dairy farmers five-year leases on application. Some of the farmers have already collected their documents. We will also sit down as Government and consider issuing out 99-year leases.
“The 99-year leases, after some amendments are now bankable, and I hope they will assist the farmers to access funding,” she said. Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development, Cde Paddy Zhanda agreed that there was need to protect the dairy farms.
“Dairy farmers should be spared to boost production. Dairy farmers have been spared because of their commitment to Zimbabwe. We want the sector to grow. It is better for me to preside over a flourishing sector rather than a crumbling sector,” he said.
Cde Zhanda ruled out possibilities of title deeds for the farms.
He said Government had come up with 99-year leases and it was not the State’s policy to issue out title deeds for the land.
Cde Zhanda also applauded the dairy sector for registering a growth of eight percent.
He said the sector would also benefit from the recent Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016 in which Government regulated importation of a number of finished products.