Month-long land audit gets underway

Land audit gets under way in Zim as govt seeks to address agrarian reform 'injustices' - report


22 October 2018


[Photograph added:  Dup Muller, a commercial farmer in the Headlands district, surveys the damage after his farm house was burnt down by suspected war veterans in August 2002]

Zimbabwe has reportedly started its land audit, as the southern African country tries to address some of the problems encountered during its controversial land reform programme.

According to the state-owned Herald newspaper, the Zimbabwe Land Commission deployed teams of 60 enumerators in all eight farming provinces "for the comprehensive agricultural land audit" set to begin on Monday.

The exercise was expected to end on November 24.

"We will also identify the challenges and constraints being faced by the farmers in successfully addressing the agrarian reform agenda.

"We will also identify land utilisation patterns and optimal farming activities which influence appropriate policies for increased agricultural production, poverty alleviation and sustainable use of agricultural land," Zimbabwe Land Commission chairperson Tendai Bare was quoted as saying.

This came a few weeks after Agriculture Minister Perrance Shiri said that the Zimbabwean government wanted to address "injustices" committed during land reforms.

Colonial land ownership imbalances

"Our government is firmly committed to a process of the need for corrective measures to deal with the consequences of past injustices," Shiri was quoted as saying by Sunday Mail.

Shiri also, however, said it was important not to create "new injustices".

"Our policy acknowledges the property rights of existing land owners. It also recognises the legitimate demand for justice from those who have been dispossessed or excluded," he said.

Former president Robert Mugabe and the ruling  Zanu-PF party launched the land reforms in 2000, taking over white-owned farms to resettle landless blacks.

Mugabe said the reforms were meant to correct colonial land ownership imbalances.

At least 4 000 white commercial farmers were evicted from their farms.

The land seizures were often violent, claiming the lives of several white farmers during clashes with veterans of Zimbabwe's 1970s liberation struggle.

Critics of the reforms have blamed the programme for low production on the farms as the majority of the beneficiaries lacked the means and skills to work the land.

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