EU gives millions for land audit

european_unionHARARE - The European Union is giving the Zimbabwe government 4.9 million to conduct a national land audit. "The EU funds will contribute to the implementation of the national land audit, which is critically needed to ensure a proper framework for an increased productivity of the agriculture sector in Zimbabwe," said Ambassador Aldo Dell'Ariccia, head

A two-year land audit was due to begin in Zimbabwe in February – but shortage of funds, an angry reaction from President Robert Mugabe’s allies and more attacks on white farmers stalled the audit. It is expected to reveal multiple farm owners, 10 years after Mugabe’s government embarked on its programme ostensibly to hand over mainly white-owned land to black people.

The scheme has been widely blamed for destroying Zimbabwe’s agriculture-based economy and turning the country into a net importer of food.

Meanwhile the European Commission (EC) has also agreed to fund a programme to support the reform of the sugar sector of Zimbabwe to the tune of 13 779 000 (about US$19 million). “The Zimbabwe Sugar Industry is of strategic importance to the country’s economy which is just re-emerging from a drastic decline that culminated in 2008, with a sugar production below 300 000 tons per year. This projects aims at restoring the capacity and the level of production of the sugar industry, on which the livelihood of more than 200 000 people depend,” Dell’Ariccia said.

There has been no official indication of when or even if the audit will take place.

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