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Zimbabwe Government Serves Notice To Peasant Farm Invaders

Harare has set a cut-off date of September 30 for the cessation of activity by farmers who have been working land without letters of offer from the government. Officials said such farmers would be allowed to harvest crops before vacating the property.

Communal farmers invaded many white-owned commercial farms at the height of the farm invasions that began in 2000, but most never received offer letters although the government had urged them to take back "ancestral lands" from white settlers.

Secretary Ngoni Masoka of the Land Reform and Resettlement Ministry said farmers were being moved under legislation dealing with illegal farm occupiers. Harare has come under criticism for withholding letters of offer from such peasant farmers.

But agriculture spokesman Renson Gasela of the Movement for Democratic Change faction of Arthur Mutambara told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri he does not expect Harare to evict such farmers, because it will need their votes in future elections.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...