‘Don’t turn farms into stands’ 

Livingstone Marufu
GOVERNMENT has ordered Land Reform Programme beneficiaries to immediately stop converting farm land into residential stands.

Source: ‘Don’t turn farms into stands’ | The Sunday Mail Nov 12, 2017

The directive follows an increase in cases of farmers, who were allocated peri-urban farms, subdividing the land for residential purposes.

Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Deputy Minister (Crop Production) Davison Marapira said while Government appreciated the national housing challenges, there was need to understand the importance of farm land.

“Land and soil resources, particularly those devoted to agricultural uses, are important resources to the country because they are directly linked to food security and food production,” said Deputy Minister Marapira.

“Unfortunately sustainable land use for production is under threat to massive conversions of these lands for non-agricultural purposes, especially residential stands in peri-urban land, a key contributor of food insecurity in the past few years.

“This should stop forthwith as we can’t sacrifice country’s economy and food security for houses in undesignated areas. We cannot jeopardise economic growth because some corrupt officials in city councils and growth points want to benefit from this viable and arable rich land.”

Deputy Minister Marapira said there was need to draw lessons from China where hills, mountains and the seas were being reclaimed for accommodation purposes in order to save agricultural land.

“We should re-look at the way we do our things in the country because it doesn’t make any sense to have a well-developed housing industry when we don’t have a working industry,” said the deputy minister.

“We should first build the industry by supporting agriculture then build houses later. There is everything wrong when we build houses at that rate when we are not supplying the manufacturing industry raw materials.

“As we speak we are talking of import substitution programmes which will save the country a lot of foreign currency but we don’t want to support the agriculture which generates and save foreign currency.”

In 1991 The Philippines banned conversion of agricultural land to non-agricultural purposes. Egypt also has laws that prohibit land conversions.

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 3
  • comment-avatar
    Wegona 5 years ago

    This was long over due

  • comment-avatar
    Zambezi 5 years ago

    And who is going to stop them…..? Most of these farms have been taken over by the “Chefs”!!!

    The land should be given back to the farmers in its entirety so that food security can be guaranteed.

  • comment-avatar

    It’s too late. The government doesn’t wish to acknowledge what commercial farming is: an enterprise that few can carry out for the many.

    The stacks and huts of the povo will litter once productive fields. You can see it when you fly into Harare. It’s a disgrace.