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Shiri reviews land ownership laws to boost capacity

A farmer inspects her thriving crop. Agriculture presents one of Zimbabwe’s biggest opportunities to escape from its economic crisis.

In an attempt to fight food insecurity in Zimbabwe, the government has streamlined the sizes of farmlands in the country’s five ecological regions, giving other farmers the opportunity to have access to land.

The decision follows a report that some people were multiple farm owners, denying others a chance to have access to land. While many people were multiple farm owners, most especially those in prime regions, the government saw the need to review its land ownership laws so as to enhance suitable farm systems in all the regions.

Also, many of these lands were not properly utilized, prompting the government to implement a new law that will ensure even distribution of land to farmers and boost capacity utilization.

In a statement published by the government, the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, and Rural Resettlement Minister, Perrance Shiri disclosed the maximum number of hectares a farmer can own in any ecological region.

According to the law, no person shall own a farm in natural region one if the size of the farm exceeds 250 hectares or region two if the size of the farm exceeds 500 hectares. In region three, the farm can not exceed 700 hectares, 1000 hectares in region four or 2000 hectares in region five.

The regions vary in terms of how fertile the lands are. For instance, Natural Region One is suitable for dairy farming forestry, tea, coffee, fruit, beef, and maize production, while Region Two is suitable for intensive farming, based on maize, tobacco, cotton, and livestock.

The downsizing of farm ownership by the government has received commendations from the respective principal lands committees. Recall that Zimbabwe, under former president Robert Mugabe, compulsorily acquired over 12 million hectares of arable land previously occupied by foreigners, resulting in some black beneficiaries getting lands which they were unable to put to effective use.

The new law looks to improve the situation by allowing efficient utilization of farmland. It also comes at a time Zimbabwe is facing its worst hunger crisis in a decade with half of its population suffering from food insecurity. As the food crisis in Zimbabwe worsens, better management of under-utilized land could turn things around. – Ventures Africa.

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