HARARE — The Zimbabwean government has revealed that investors can now legally farm on State land under a new framework that it has developed.
This comes as the government sternly warned people who are illegally invading farms, saying while every Zimbabwean has a right to land, due process must be followed in accessing agricultural land.
It was the State’s responsibility, not individuals, to alienate agricultural land, Lands and Agriculture Minister Anxious Masuka said on Wednesday. In a statement, Masuka said following the completion of the land reform program that started in the early 2000s against the background of growing demand for land, the government was now focusing on identifying those with excess land, abandoned farms and underutilized farms for re-allocation to those in need of land.
It was in that light that the government came up with a joint venture agreement framework to allow investors to legally farm on State land with the consent of the government.
“Unfortunately, not every Zimbabwean wishing to get land will be allocated land. However, one does not have to own land in order to undertake farming or engage in a profitable agricultural business.”
“The government has recently approved a joint venture agreement framework such that investors can legally farm with the consent of the government. This method allows for access to agricultural land for production purposes while ensuring there is skills transfer to the land reform beneficiaries,” Masuka said.
He said the government does not allow any farm invasions, and that culprits offering fake offer letters to people will be brought to account.
“Continuing reports of corruption across all land categories are worrisome and the government will not tolerate any unbecoming behavior that is prejudicial to our cherished land reform program,” Masuka said.
The land reform program sought to address colonial land ownership imbalances and resulted in thousands of previously marginalized, landless Zimbabweans getting pieces of land previously occupied by former white commercial farmers. Masuka said the government is introducing new offer letters with improved security features to curb land disputes.
“Older offer letters will be replaced with new serialized offer letters with new security features. These will be collectible from the provinces and districts. This will weed out old fake offer letters,” he said.