Zimbabwe second land audit on cards

Zimbabwe’s new finance minister said he would accelerate plans to pay arrears to the World Bank and the African Development Bank. Picture: Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo

Government is expected to start rolling out the second phase of the national agricultural land audit, which is expected to rationalise farm ownership and sizes. Farmers, on the other hand, are expected to start using the revised 99-year lease as collateral to access funding from financial institutions.

This came out during the presentation of the ministerial statement on the State of the Economy by Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube in Parliament on Wednesday last week.

Minister Ncube said the first phase of the audit had been completed and preparations for the next phase will start at the end of this month.

“In 2018, His Excellency President Emmerson Mnangagwa ordered the expeditious completion of the land audit which is expected to rationalise ownership and farm sizes.

“Consequently, the Zimbabwe Land Commission (ZLC) undertook the first phase of the National Agricultural Land Audit which was conducted in 10 districts across the country’s 10 provinces between October and November last year.

He said the first phase constituted 6 percent of the targeted land covering more than 18 000 farmers.

“The audit indicated gross underfunding of the agricultural sector and recommended the establishment of a land and agricultural bank to facilitate funding for resettlement farmers.

“It further recommended an integrated Land Information Management System (LIMS) to address shortcomings related to fraudulent land allocations, rampant illegal leasing of land parcels and gross underutilisation which is materially affecting agricultural output,” he said.

Minister Ncube said preparations for the second phase would be rolled out at the end of May in all the remaining districts across the country’s 10 provinces.

“The land audit will help inform Government’s agricultural policies and development of strategies for increasing productivity and also promote social equity and environmental sustainability,” he said.

Government embarked on the land audit to analyse land allocation data and extent of land distribution with respect to gender, equity classification, environmental management, extent of multiple land ownership and double allocations.

The other objectives are to assess land use planning with respect to farm sizes, ecological and farming enterprises or activities and assess the extent of tenure security and land rights of beneficiaries.

The exercise is meant to identify challenges and constraints to successfully address the agrarian reform agenda while it also helps Government to assess how farmers can be assisted to improve productivity, ensure food security and economic development.

Minister Ncube also told the Parliament that Government and the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe had agreed on a revised 99 year lease agreement in 2017.

The revision enables the transferability of land in the event of default which was a major requirement by financial institutions for the leases to be bankable. – Herald