In an interview, the deputy minister of agriculture responsible for cropping, Davies Marapira, has said his ministry would soon conduct an audit and repossess all farms not being fully used – especially the A2 model farms. He said his ministry would recommend that the Ministry of Lands allocate the properties to genuine farmers.
From next year Marapira said his ministry would set targets for A2 farmers to stop them “just clinging onto the land without producing anything”.
“We are going to set targets and agriculture extension officers will give us reports as to who is producing what and where so that we take stock of all farming activities in the country,” said Marapira.
“Those who have been under-utilising their farms will lose them and we have no apologies to make on this issue,” he added. “Farming is a business – so any farmer who is serious should have production targets so that he or she can maximise production.”
Now that farmers can use their 99 year leases from government to get loans from banks there is no excuse on why one is not producing, he said. “This has been the case with former white farmers who were getting loans from banks. This is the time for our farmers to shine instead of just holding on to pieces of land.”
Zimbabwe’s agricultural production has slumped to record levels over the past 14 years after the government and the ruling Zanu (PF) party embarked on a controversial land reform programme which saw nearly all commercial farmers being pushed off their land. Marapira, who is also a farmer, said he had set targets for himself and no one should be allowed to play games instead of producing food for the nation.
He said there would no sacred cows, saying “We are not going to select people but we are going to take those farms from everyone who is not fully using the land.”
Several government officials and Zanu (PF) bigwigs own multiple properties, which are not fully productive.
Last month chaos broke out in Masvingo East commercial farming area after war veterans and ordinary villagers embarked on fresh farm invasions, accusing the land owners of failing to use the properties and acquiring them “through mysterious circumstances”.Post published in: News