By Margaret Kamba
Youths in Agriculture have welcomed the decision by Cabinet to reallocate farms saying the move will benefit the land-hungry youths who are eager to contribute to Zimbabwe’s food security and poverty alleviation.
Cabinet yesterday approved the reallocation of 24 farms under multiple farm-ownership and 367 abandoned or vacant farms and downsizing of 71 farms to the maximum permitted size for their ecological region.
Speaking at post-cabinet briefing yesterday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Senator Monica Mutsvangwa said Cabinet adopted a report from Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement Minister Perrence Shiri of the first phase of the comprehensive national agriculture land audit covering 18 646 farms, representing six percent of 300 000 to be audited.
“Arising from today’s presentation, the following key decisions were made: that the issuance of tenure documents will be expedited, that married beneficiaries will be given joint tenure documents to protect spouses on land ownership, that the 255 abandoned land units and 112 vacant land units will be re-allocated to deserving applicants, that 24 farms under multiple farm ownership will be withdrawn and re-allocated to deserving applicants, that the 71 identified farms exceeding the maximum gazetted sizes will be downsized,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
“Allocation of land will be in line with the gazetted policy quotas with respect to war veterans, women, youths and people living with disabilities.”
In an interview, John Muchenje of the Apex Council for Youth in Agriculture said this decision will ensure that capable youths also benefit from the land.
“We are happy with the decision by government to downsize farms and reallocate idle land. Our plea to government is to ensure that deserving and capable youth benefit from this move. We appeal to government to honour the young farmers who have been leasing land to acquire land. There has been a growing demand for land by the young people who have been yearning to contribute to the country’s food security. The decision by Cabinet therefore comes at an opportune time as it will motivate the young farmers to contribute meaningfully to the country’s food basket.”
A second phase of the audit, covering 38 000 farms has already been undertaken, and the report on required action will soon be presented. The third phase will cover 242 000 farms.
Zimbabwe’s economy is based on agriculture which is born on the lives and sacrifices of many gallant sons and daughters of Zimbabwe many of whom lie still unburied in various parts of the country, Mozambique and Zambia among other countries.