THE Government has issued a stern warning to individuals who are parcelling and selling state land, which is at variance with the country’s land redistribution efforts.
In an interview yesterday director of lands in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Mr Cephas Magauze, said that there was an increase in the number of people selling A1, A2 and communal land without the proper authorisation.
The selling of farms is in direct conflict with the new policy guidelines that indicate that only the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development has the powers to issue tenure documents to beneficiaries and has the mandate to offer A1 and A2 permits.
“The Government remains on alert on these malicious activities as the police taskforce on unlawful land distribution is making arrests and we are urging people to use the proper channels for land application,” said Mr Magauze.
These developments come at a time the Government is working to increase productivity through maximum land utilisation through various frameworks.
Recently the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Dr Anxious Masuka challenged farmers to maximise production on their farms in an effort to attain food security for the nation in line with developing the economy into an upper-middle-income one by 2030.
The Government is recommending joint venture arrangements and contract farming as viable frameworks towards achieving maximum land utilisation and optimisation with over 200 000hactares already under 2000 joint venture arrangements.
“Land utilisation is not at its best as reports on the A1 and A2 productivity suggest that there are some levels of underutilisation, therefore without reversing the gains of the revolution we are operationalising joint venture and contract farming frameworks,” said the Minister.
Farmers are therefore encouraged to explore ways of boosting production on their land, which is critical in improving livelihoods rather than sell agricultural land.
“Value chain financing is a viable avenue that farmers can explore in order to borrow, that is, by having a good crop that is insured, safe agronomic practices and good returns on produce that is supported by an off-take market,” Zimbabwe Farmer’s Union (ZFU) secretary general Mr Paul Zakariya said.
He further rallied farmers to believe in themselves and show confidence in the land reform programme.
The Government through the policy of binding the private sector to fund 40 percent production of its raw materials locally has been able to create strategic partnerships between land owners and the capital.
The thrust of such initiatives that are aimed at safeguarding state land with rightful beneficiaries dovetails into Government’s devolution agenda and industrialisation of marginalised rural communities that have no access to capital while promoting employment creation.