Farmers to talk to donors direct?

HARARE - The Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) is mulling over the possibility of setting up a taskforce to look into the possibility of negotiating directly with foreign donors on compensation for their farms seized by the Zanu (PF) government under the chaotic land grab.
While it was not pos

sible to obtain official comment from the CFU, sources said they were seeking the farmers’ views on the resolutions following a proposal for direct negotiations by the CFU’s Mashonaland West region.
“We are trying to establish the views of farmers on the resolutions after which we will chart the way forward,” said the source. He could not say which donors the farmers would approach if the resolution was adopted.
The government has grabbed almost 4,000 commercial farms for compulsory acquisition under the Land Acquisition Act, but is not obliged to pay for the full value of the farms. It can, however, pay for improvements. There is panic among the remaining 600 or so commercial farmers, especially those whose properties are to be acquired under a new wave of evictions, as compensation is not guaranteed.
Said our source: “We as farmers must be in a position to make our own reasonable and unprejudiced decisions. With the political motivation behind the current new wave of fast-track approach to land reform, the present government will remain unable to negotiate a well-planned and organised transference of land ownership. So, we are saying an opportunity has arisen, uniquely created by the present government and the current situation, for an independent negotiating team to talk directly with foreign donors on matters regarding compensation.”
The farmers say they want the government to depoliticise the land issue and focus on a policy that includes all stakeholders.

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