Zindi slams land ‘reform’

The land ‘reform’ programme has been “a huge failure and has failed to economically empower most Zimbabweans” says Zanu (PF) MP Irene Zindi.


She told parliament during the Presidential Speech that the land issue needed to be revisited in order to stimulate production. She is the second ruling party MP to publicly berate the land resettlement exercise after Sanyati MP Blessed Runesu Geza made a similar analysis early this year. The idea was to economically empower Zimbabweans and ensure they earned a living from farming but this had not happened, she said.

“There is an element of uncertainty over a clause which says the minister can repossess land if they feel so and that alone brings uncertainty in people who would have been allocated the land because they do not have lease agreements,” said Zindi, adding that this clause should be removed.

“In terms of borrowing, the whole lease agreement itself is not anything that is bankable with the bankers and this leaves the farmer with no other option in terms of accessing loans in order for them to be productive on their farms. Land reform programmes in Namibia and Zambia ensure lease agreements are bankable,” she said.

Zindi said meetings between government and the Bankers’ Association of Zimbabwe had established that bankers wanted lease agreements that had security and were bankable, adding the responsibility now lay with the Executive to make decisions to ensure farmers were productive.

“Most of the farmers who were allocated land during the land reform programme are handicapped in terms of production because they were unable to access loans,” she said.

She accused the Agriculture Marketing Authority (AMA) of not being visible on the ground to assist farmers market their produce.

“Farmers have nightmares in terms of marketing their produce, particularly concerning horticultural produce – tomatoes, vegetables, the highly perishables – resulting in some losing almost half their produce simply because of not accessing markets. AMA has remained so alien and its activities are unknown by the farmers on the ground,” Zindi said.

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