Government has paid over $35 million to about 650 white former commercial farmers whose land was repossessed under the Land Reform Programme.
Over 900 white ex-farmers have applied for compensation under the Interim Relief Programme, which was established to facilitate payments, to mostly aged farmers, for developments they had done on the farms.
Individual farmers are receiving $55 000 which is being drawn from the $53 million set aside in the 2019 National Budget.
A further $380 million was provided for the compensation in this year’s budget.
Commercial Farmers’ Union (CFU) Director Mr Ben Gilpin said farmers started receiving payment in May last year.
“Government agreed that instead of paying only a few of the roughly 3 500 former white commercial farmers, they could be provision for sharing the payment with many who were in distress,” said Mr Gilpin.
“The Interim Relief Programme was started in May 2019; applicants have been paid $55 000 for their claims and these amounts will be offset against full compensation when it is fully settled.
Compensation for improvements made on the land is being undertaken in accordance with the Constitution and Zimbabwe’s obligations under the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (BIPPAs).
Considering the scale of payments required, Mr Gilpin said authorities should consider seeking international assistance.
“In view of the inflation in the country, the payment made thus far is a very small part of the total required to settle the full bill for compensation,” he said.
“The Government will most likely have to look at a number of options including international assistance to pay what is finally agreed:” Mr Gilpin said about 350 white farmers continued to operate mostly downsized portions of their farms.