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Security of Tenure Hampering Revival of Agriculture in Zimbabwe

FILE: Communal farmers cultivate maize crops in Mvuma district, Masvingo, Zimbabwe, Jan. 26, 2016.

A senior official in Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Agriculture says efforts to revive agriculture are being hampered by government’s failure to provide security of tenure to beneficiaries of the land reform program.

Collin Kabudura told a meeting organized by the Office of the President and Cabinet that government had performed dismally in this regard as it has so far issued three bankable 99-year leases against a target of 200.

He said out of the targeted 1,500 bankable permits, only 121 have been issued. Kabudura said without security of tenure farmers were unable to get funding from banks.

Previous leases issued by the government were rejected by banks and other financial institutions.

Economist Masimba Manyanya said there cannot be any meaningful agricultural production without security of ownership.

Manyanya urged government to speed up the provision of security of tenure to the so-called new farmers.

Report on Land Security Filed By Irwin Chifera
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Former Finance Minister, Tendai Biti, told Studio 7 that the Zanu PF government was not prepared to give title deeds to farmers because it was using land for political purposes.

He said all acquired land was a worthless asset as it does not have any exchange value.

The Zimbabwean government grabbed land from white farmers in 2000 and since then agricultural production has been on steady decline owing to lack of finance and drought.

Zimbabwe is facing a serious grain deficit and will this year spend more than $500 million on grain imports from South Africa, Zambia, Mexico and Ukraine.