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Zimbabwe govt leases farms to white farmers

26 January 2016, 16:34

Harare - The Zimbabwean government has reportedly issued leases to white commercial farmers, saying that they should remain in "strategic places" in order to help redevelop the country's economy, reports the state-owned Herald newspaper.

According to Land and Rural Resettlement Minister Douglass Mambeshora, the duration of the leases given to the farmers would depend on the type of farming operations, said the report.

Mombeshora said the white farmers receiving leases had been recommended by their respective provincial leadership, as their operations were regarded to be of "strategic importance".

"We have in fact started issuing leases to white farmers after receiving recommendation that they must remain on their properties from their respective provinces. I cannot tell the number of leases we have given out or that we are going to give out, but all I can say is we are giving white farmers leases," Mambeshora was quoted saying.

The state media reported last year that at least six white farmers from the country's Masvingo province had been recommended by the provincial leadership to get offer letters under the model A2 scheme.

Land reform

The six farmers were believed to be involved in poultry, dairy farming and pedigree bull productions.

"We do not discriminate when issuing offer letters or permits. We do not have a separate policy for white people when it comes to land distribution and there are plenty of whites that have received offer letters in this country," Mambeshora said at the time.

Last year in July, Zimbabwe's long-time President Robert Mugabe vowed that whites will never be allowed to own land in Zimbabwe, saying the few remaining white farmers must go.

Mugabe said white people were only allowed to own apartments, companies, and industries.

Mugabe and his ruling Zanu-PF party launched a set of land reforms in 2000, taking over white-owned farms to resettle landless blacks.

At the time, Mugabe said the reforms were meant to correct colonial land ownership imbalances.

At least 4 000 white commercial farmers were evicted from their farms.

The land seizures were often violent, claiming the lives of several white farmers during clashes with veterans of Zimbabwe's 1970s liberation struggle.

Critics of the reforms have blamed the programme for low production on the farms as the majority of the beneficiaries lacked the means and skills to work the land.

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- News24


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