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Zimbabwe Banks Rejecting Farmers' 99-Year Land Leases

Most resettled farmers are failing to access loans because they lack collateral.

Resettled farmers, who were hoping to use their 99-year old leases to borrow from the banks, will have to wait a little longer as banks are holding on to their money saying a number of outstanding issues need to be addressed before they can consider accepting the leases as collateral.

The state-controlled Herald newspaper Tuesday quoted Bankers Association of Zimbabwe executive director Raj Biyam as saying there are “areas still to be resolved between the government and the banks.”

Indications are that land ownership still remains unresolved since all land in the country now belongs to the government while the farmers will have to use improvements on the land to enable them to borrow from banks.

Agriculture Minister Douglas Mombeshora recently announced that the government had addressed outstanding issues previously raised by banks over the leases.

Economist Prosper Chitambara of the Labour and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe says that the only way the government can deal with this issue is to give the farmers title deeds and not leases.

Meanwhile, the Movement for Democratic Change Renewal Team is urging the government to provide land to everyone without considering their political affiliation.

The party says resettled farmers also need to be guaranteed of security of land tenure “so as to propel development” and to enable farmers to borrow from the banks.

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