Fungai Lupande Mash Central Bureau
The national land policy is going to prioritise allocation of land to the youths, who were left out in the land reform programme, says Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Deputy Minister Vangelis Haritatos.
Officially opening the Mazowe Rural District Council’s investment conference at Mazowe Hotel last week on behalf of Minister Perrance Shiri, Deputy Minister Haritatos said the country will lose out on growth potential if Government does not invest in the youths.
“The ministry is in the process of crafting the national land policy. Consultations are ongoing and I look forward to input from this conference. Government is finalising the land audit which will guide us on how to cater for those who have been on the waiting list for long especially the youths,” he said.
“I am aware that most youths are not beneficiaries of the land reform programme and let me assure you, efforts are underway to come up with an all-inclusive youth and gender sensitive land policy.
“We are aware that not all beneficiaries of the land reform are utilising the land fully and this conference presents an opportunity to farmers to forge partnerships and enter into joint ventures.
“If we do not provide opportunities and invest in our youths the country will miss a great deal of economic growth potential. The agriculture sector presents significant opportunities that our youths can tap into.”
Deputy Minister Haritatos encouraged Mashonaland Central to lead in value addition of agricultural produce.
“This involves promoting the establishment of value addition plants like tomato paste production plants, juice making plants, drying facilities, livestock products processing plants. This is also an unexploited area that investors can explore,” he said.
“There is need to upgrade infrastructure through public-private partnerships to increase and stabilise production. The Government is incentivising investors in the agriculture sector through tax holidays for five years and 15 percent tax for the second five years.
“The Mines and Mining Development Ministry is amending their Act to address the miner-farmer conflicts and protect the farmers’ rights. Unfortunately, the law favoured the miner.”