Elita chikwati Senior Agriculture Reporter
The Zimbabwe Land Commission (ZLC) will begin the national comprehensive agricultural land audit on Monday.
The audit seeks to identify land use patterns, optimal farming activities and influence appropriate policies for increased productivity, poverty alleviation and sustainable utilisation of agricultural land.
It ends on November 24.
The audit will be carried out in all gazetted categories of agricultural land which include old resettlement schemes, A1 villages, A1 self-contained, A2 small, medium and large-scale commercial farms, small-scale commercial farms (matenganyika) commercial farm settlement scheme, commercial agricultural plots and three-tier farms.
ZLC chairperson Commissioner Tendai Bare said the audit started in the first half of the year with baseline data collection followed by a pilot land audit that was carried out in July to test the audit instruments and logistical arrangements.
The audit, Comm Bare said, analyses land allocation data and extent of land distribution with respect to gender, equity classification, environmental management, extent of multiple land ownership and double allocations.
“The other objectives are to assess land use planning with respect to farm sizes, ecological and farming enterprises or activities and assess the extent of tenure security and land rights of beneficiaries.
“The audit is also meant to identify challenges and constraints to successfully address the agrarian reform agenda,” she said.
Comm Bare said the audit helps the Government to assess how farmers can be assisted to improve productivity, ensure food security and economic development.
“Farming is a business so land audit will assist farmers to identify areas for improvement in land utilisation and investment in the business of farming. The commission will make recommendations to Government regarding mitigatory measures to the challenges the farmers face.
“The audit instrument used for discussion with farmers is designed to instil a sense of self accountability by farmers. It brings out those aspects that farmers should be paying attention to such as the need for meticulous record-keeping on both production and finances; the need for written production and farm development plans to guide their business of farming .
“Every piece of agricultural land has to be accounted for so that the nation can unlock the value of land and benefit from this natural and finite resource,” she said.
The land audit is an evaluation and monitoring tool which is going to be used every five years to check on agricultural land status for the purpose of planning agricultural programmes and related support and investments.
“It is not targeted at dispossessing farmers. The focus is for Government to unlock value for both beneficiaries and the nation with meaningful contribution to the GDP and per capita incomes.”