The Government has started redistributing unused land that was given to black farmers during the land reform programme at the turn of the Millenium.
Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development Minister Anxious Masuka, on Wednesday, said multiple farm owners will be left with one farm and the rest will be expropriated and redistributed. He said:
Those who own more than one farm, or whose farms are abandoned, will face expropriation.
The lands will be redistributed to aspiring farmers, who are on a waiting list established since the last reforms.
Masuka said 99% of the land has already been allocated and the land distributed to farmers on the waiting list is being taken from blacks and will be allocated to black farmers.
Deputy Lands Minister Vangelis Haritatos said some white farmers have already been allowed to reclaim land through local partnerships.
According to Haritatos, there were no specific criteria for the exercise but he said “what we want is a system that is fair to the greatest number of people.”
In the early 2000s, the then President, Robert Mugabe, forcibly expropriated land from commercial white farmers in order to reallocate it to black farmers.
While the Zimbabwean Government said land reform was intended to correct inequalities resulting from British colonisation, those close to the Government and the ruling ZANU PF party greatly from the redistribution.
The new farmers were poorly trained and ill-equipped, and this resulted in food shortages, forcing Zimbabwe to spend millions of dollars importing grain to feed its population.
Mugabe’s successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has attempted to compensate the white former farmers for the developments they carried out on the farms.