HARARE - Ressetled farmers will soon pay rentals on their properties in a move government hopes will spur them to fully utilise their land, a Cabinet minister has said.
Lands and Rural Settlement minister Douglas Mombeshora told the Daily News in a telephone interview yesterday that he was working closely with Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo over the farm charges.
“It is work in progress, we are working on the figures,” Mombeshora said.
“Once we have the figures, we will tell you. But just today we had a meeting with the Local Government (ministry) officials over the matter. So any time soon, we will invite you over to reveal the figures.
“We are not proposing any levies but we are proposing rentals. If you don’t want to pay the rent, you simply leave the farm.”
There is an estimated 300 000 resettled farmers on land seized from former white farmers under government’s agrarian revolution, according to official figures.
Meanwhile, a land audit has been stymied by a shortage of funds, an angry reaction from President Robert Mugabe’s allies and more attacks on white farmers.
The audit is expected to reveal multiple farm owners, 14 years after Mugabe’s government embarked on its programme to hand over mainly white-owned land to black people.
But the scheme has been widely blamed for destroying Zimbabwe’s agriculture-based economy and turning the country into a net importer of food.
Mombeshora said he was looking for money to carry out the land audit.
“We are still looking for the money to carry out the land audit and once we get it we will embark on the exercise,” he said.
Turning to the new land permits that will be issued to resettled farmers, Mombeshora said his ministry was training district land officers who are going to distribute the permits.
After that, the land district officers will visit the farms and if everything is above board, a land permit will be issued out.