Fast-track land reform blamed for tourism fall

Fast-track land reform blamed for tourism fall

Source: Fast-track land reform blamed for tourism fall | The Financial Gazette March 1, 2018


Mjingwe Lodge in the Bubye Conservancy just before it was invaded in 2014. The lodge was built with foreign investment.

A FORMER player in Zimbabwe’s tourism industry has blamed the fast-track land reform for the sector’s poor performance.
Darryl Collett, former owner of Mjingwe Ranch, a lucrative wildlife ranch in Masvingo’s Mwenezi district, said the year 2000 programme completely eroded the value of wildlife after the State expropriated white-owned farms.

At the turn of the century, many privately-owned conservancies were invaded by villagers led by disgruntled war veterans.

Mjingwe Ranch in the Bubye Conservancy was just one among dozens that were invaded across the country.
Contributing to the ongoing land tenure and land policy discourse at a National Consultative Dialogue Workshop on Land Tenure and Land Policy in Zimbabwe organised by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Zimbabwe, Collett said private ownership of land was the only solution to reviving the sector.
“Wildlife needs a value to survive. Private enterprise and the hunting safari industry gave it that value. Now, it is 2018; the future for wildlife is bleak. Hunting is once more dependent on a quota issued by the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority followed by a permit to hunt. Without that quota and that permit, wildlife has no value to the producer,” said Collett, who lost his ranch to senior government officials in 2014.

The ranch was a partnership between him, South African investors, Alastair Forsyth and local chiefs.
“We need a change of mindset. We need to go back to what we know is tried and tested. Title deed ownership of agricultural land needs to be reinstated. It further needs to be offered to all Zimbabwe farmers on resettled land, be they A1 or A2 farmers. Title deeds need to be offered to communal farmers. This will add value to the land and release the creativity,” Collett said.