Elita Chikwati Senior Agriculture Reporter
The Zimbabwe Land Commission has deployed teams of 60 enumerators in all eight farming provinces for the comprehensive agricultural land audit which begins today.
The audit teams will have identity particulars and farmers will not be asked to pay any money.
The exercise, which will be carried out simultaneously in all eight provinces is expected to end on November 24.
The audit is meant to identify land utilisation patterns and optimal farming activities which influence appropriate policies for increased agricultural productivity, poverty alleviation and sustainable utilisation of agricultural land.
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, commercial agricultural plots and the three-tier farms.
In an interview, Zimbabwe Land Commission chairperson Commissioner Tendai Bare said the audit will be done at district level in all eight provinces.
“The roll out is starting on 22 October (today). It is province based, simultaneous and targets all farm models. We will start with one district per each province and eventually (cascade) to all other districts.
“The audit roll out will start with the following districts; Hurungwe District, Mashonaland West, Wedza, Mashonaland East, Muzarabani in Mashonaland Central, Kwekwe in Midlands, Makoni in Manicaland, Gutu in Masvingo, Lupane in Matabeleland North and Beitbridge in Matabeleland South.
“Our teams have been trained and are ready to go and already have the audit instruments tested,” she said.
Commissioner Bare said the public was particularly keen on the land audit as it was likely to unearth underutilised land, double and multiple allocations.
“We will also identify the challenges and constraints being faced by the farmers in successfully addressing the agrarian reform agenda.
“We will also identify land utilisation patterns and optimal farming activities which influence appropriate policies for increased agricultural production, poverty alleviation and sustainable use of agricultural land,” she said.
She said farmers will not be required to pay a fee for the land audit and are only encouraged to co-operate with the ZLC teams.
“We expect farmers to be ready to receive the audit teams and to provide the necessary information.
“A farmer should just produce identity particulars, marriage certificates, tenure documents, production records and development plans. Where there are disputes, farmers should also indicate to the teams. This is not a witch-hunting exercise and we expect farmers to co-operate,” she said.
Commissioner Bare said the information from the audit will also be used by Government to address challenges faced by farmers and to come up with possible solutions so that “farmers will boost production and be able to contribute to the economy and farmers becoming part of the 2030 vision of becoming a middle income economy”.
Commissioner Bare said the only challenge was a limited budget which was affecting mobility.
“If we had adequate resources we could do a full and complete audit by end of 2019 the outcome of which will be an integrated and interactive land information management system to assist Government in developing policies and interventions to increase agricultural productivity that is evidence based,” she said.