Government has revealed that it has taken a deliberate policy position to initially exempt fully utilized productive farms from downsizing until agricultural land under multiple farm ownership, derelict, and/or under-utilized has been brought into production.
According to a joint statement released by the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, and Rural Resettlement and the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs and Provincial Lands Committees shall ensure strict adherence to this policy.
“Tenure status of land which was compulsorily acquired for resettlement but the former farm owners have continued farming operations, with or without tenure documents.
“Compensation of former farm owners whose land was compulsorily acquired for resettlement and are entitled, in terms of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, to compensation as provided for under Bilateral Investment Protection and Promotion Agreements (BIPPAs) or Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs).
“Government has received numerous reports regarding the resurgence of illegal land occupations, particularly on highly productive farms thereby disrupting production.
“This comes at a time when the focus should be on increasing utilisation and productivity on agricultural land. These illegal farm occupations are taking place in complete disregard of offer letters which Government has issued to the affected farmers.
“Such disorderly behaviour among our citizens is indiscipline of the highest level which Government does not condone or tolerate. It should stop forthwith,” read the statement.
The statement added that former farm owners on compulsorily acquired land should urgently regularise their tenure through designated Government institutions in the first instance, before consideration can be made for the issuance of 99-Year Leases.
“Former farm owners who already hold Offer Letters may proceed to apply for 99- Year Leases.
“Those former farm owners who are indigenous Zimbabweans or citizens of countries which had ratified Bilateral Investment Protection and Promotion Agreements or Bilateral Investment Treaties with Zimbabwe at the time their land was compulsorily acquired for resettlement are entitled to compensation for both land and improvements, in terms of subsections (1) and (2) of Section 295 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
“This category of former farm owners is not eligible for payment of compensation under the Global Compensation Agreement signed on 29 July 2020. Their compensation will be considered separately on a case by case basis,” read the statement.
Two decades ago late President Robert Mugabe’s government carried out at times violent evictions of 4,500 white farmers and redistributed the land to about 300,000 black families, to redress colonial land imbalances.