via Midlands to cut farm sizes | The Herald March 12, 2015
MIDLANDS Provincial Lands Committee has recommended the downsizing of over 50 farms for resettlement after beneficiaries failed to utilise them. The farms would be downsized into viable plots for allocation to people on the waiting list. Over 12 000 people are on the land waiting list in the Midlands. According to a Land Status report on the state of farms in the Midlands Province presented by the chief lands officer, Mr Joseph Shoko at a Midlands Development Committee meeting held at the Zanu-PF Winery Conference Centre in Gweru recently and attended by Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, the land committee embarked on farm assessment programme.
Mr Shoko said some of the original farm owners had since died leaving the land to relatives who were failing to utilise it.
“Preliminary farm assessments done by the Lands Committee have unravelled irregularities on individual leased farms,” said Mr Shoko.
He said at some farms, farm structures were dilapidated with no sign of farming activity.
At PL15, which was owned by the now deceased Cuthbert Mboneli, Shoko said: “All farm structures are dilapidated with no sign of farming activity.
“The land committee recommended for the cancellation of the lease and downsizing of the farm into viable plots for allocation in order to utilise this idle agricultural land.”
At farm PL25 owned by one E Gwanzura, Mr Shoko said the farm was being sublet by the son of the late beneficiary to different people without the knowledge and consent of the Ministry.
“Subletting a farm is against the lease conditions and that automatically leads to instant cancellation of the lease.
“The land committee recommended for the cancellation of the lease as the successor to be failed to abide by lease conditions. It also further recommended downsizing the farm into viable plots for allocation,” he said.
Shoko said there were also cases of farm owners who were just sitting on the land like at farm ALSA 377 owned by Wellington Klass.
He said the owner was still on the farm but very old to farm.
“According to last inspection reported done on the 25/ 09 /11 there was very little activity and livestock below subsistence level of production and many land invaders offered themselves plots on the farm,” said Mr Shoko.
“The land committee recommended to downsize the underutilised land into viable plots for allocation as the farm falls far above the maximum farm size regulations.”
Over one million hectares of land were allocated to indigenous farmers in the Midlands Province.