Strict vetting for land seekers introduced

Source: The Herald – Breaking news.

Strict vetting for land seekers introduced 
Professor Obert Jiri

Precious Manomano, Herald Reporter

All those allocated State land for farming must, from now on, be capable farmers who will use their land fully and properly.

This means that prospective farmers on the waiting list for State land will undergo strict vetting to ascertain their capabilities.

The need for vetting comes after some of those allocated land under the land reform programme were found to be underusing the land, while others have even abandoned farms.

At present there are 270 000 Zimbabweans living in the country, and  10 000 in the diaspora, who are on the waiting list to be allocated land, but while redistribution continues, it is unlikely to satisfy their needs The emphasis is now on linking good farmers without land into joint ventures with those who have land.

Land redistribution is a continuous process to ensure there is maximum use of Zimbabwe’s farms.

Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Permanent Secretary, Professor Obert Jiri, said vetting was necessary as some previous beneficiaries of the land reform had been found to be unproductive.

He said the objective of the vetting and verification process was to ensure that deserving people were allocated land.

Prof Jiri said those on the waiting list would be allocated abandoned or underutilised farms, adding that joint ventures were encouraged as they provided a platform for the transfer and harnessing of skills to promote rural industrialisation.

“These joint venture facilities are practical solutions that we are exploring to enhance partnerships in farming businesses that guarantee productivity. Not everyone will get land because there is a huge number that is on the waiting list. Those who still want land can still register and join the waiting list because it is their right to do so.

“So far, no land is available, so we urge land seekers to engage in joint ventures and partnerships to allow more people to venture into agriculture.”

Last week, Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Minister, Dr Anxious Masuka, said the Government had a corporate model for farming and people could use it to maximise production.

Indications had shown that many farms that had been lying dormant for long periods while most joint venture partnerships were performing above expectations.

Recently, the Government warned land officers and other land barons to desist from duping desperate land seekers, saying anyone caught doing that would be punished. Much of the abuse has concerned allocation of unplanned urban plots, although some of the abuse has seen allocation of farmland.

Vice President Kembo Mohadi last week promised to ensure the creation of a special dispensation to enable Zimbabweans in the diaspora to speedily access land and other services they seek back home to deepen their participation in national development.

He was speaking during an interactive engagement with Zimbabweans living in the Republic of Congo, where attended the first International Conference on Afforestation and Reforestation.

Zimbabweans in Brazzaville wanted to know how they could get land and VP Mohadi said he had received numerous reports from diasporans who said they applied for land but had not received any communication.

He then directed staff in his office to ensure they engage the Ministry of Lands so that a special dispensation is created for the diaspora.

Government has also previously indicated that aspiring new farmers will also be allocated land in Masvingo and Kanyemba, where greenbelts are being created.