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Zimbabwe's White Farmers Skeptical of Latest Compensation Offers

Most of Zimbabwe's disposessed white farmers have yet to step forward to take up a government offer to compensate them for improvements to nationalized lands, despite repeated announcements from Harare in recent days including newspaper ads.

After publishing a notice of its compensation program in the state-controlled Sunday Mail, the government Thursday published yet another notice in the state run Herald newspaper. Secretary of Lands Ngoni Masoka in the four-page notice urged more than 1,000 white farmers to urgently contact his ministry about compensation.

But Agence France Press quoted spokeswoman Emily Crookes of the Commercial Farmers Union as saying only "one or two" members had expressed interest.

Political science lecturer Joseph Kurebwa of the University of Zimbabwe, an expert on land reform, said he thought the farmers should avail themselves of the offer.

But Justice for Agriculture CEO John Worsely-Worswick told Ndimyake Mwakalyelye of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that many of his group's members continue to doubt the government's good faith as no compensation committee or fund has been set up.

Worsely-Worswick said only about 300 of the 4,200 farmers turned off their land in the seven years since land reform began have been ompensated - often minimally.

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