Source: At last, a 99-year lease breakthrough | The Sunday Mail Jul 3, 2016
Africa Moyo and Livingstone Marufu
Ninety-nine-year farm leases are now bankable collateral, and land reform beneficiaries will soon be able to access agro-loans on the strength of those documents, a Cabinet minister has said. Though The Sunday Mail could not determine the document’s specifications, Lands and Rural Resettlement Minister Dr Douglas Mombeshora said he would present the lease to Cabinet shortly.
Land reform beneficiaries have been failing to access loans as they occupy State land which banks cannot repossess in cases of default.
At the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce annual congress in Victoria Falls last week, Dr Mombeshora said, “Our ministry has put production at the top of its priority list. Several factors affect production: tenure, funding and knowledge . . . We have just finalised redrafting the 99-year lease, with changes having been factored into that document.
“We can gladly say it’s now a bankable document after financial institutions and Government ironed out all outstanding issues. “The major challenge affecting agricultural production right now is lack of funding. So, to encourage commercial banks to fund agriculture, we need to come up with appropriate legal instruments that make it possible.
“I am going to present the lease to Cabinet after the Cabinet Committee on Legislation has seen it. “We are open to further discussions and suggestions on how we can perfect the document.”
Bankers Association of Zimbabwe president Dr Charity Jinya told The Sunday Mail: “We have been discussing with the relevant authorities the various aspects of the 99-year lease and have reached an alignment on the provisions.
“We now await further advice from the relevant ministry that we were engaged with. “I would also not wish to pre-empt any announcement, but we have agreed on some issues to make sure that the 99-year lease project becomes a reality.”
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president Mr Wonder Chabikwa added: “We are very happy with this new dispensation. “It’s a new dawn for our agriculture as the bulk of our farmers have not been accessing bank loans. “With this 99-year lease, farmers will access new irrigation equipment that can bust drought effects and also enable them to farm all-year round.
“This will improve productivity levels and ensure a healthy flow of inputs to industry. Agriculture will now become the business it is.”