HomeOpinion & AnalysisColumnistsTitle deeds make land bankable- COMMENT

Title deeds make land bankable- COMMENT

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Zanu PF MPs are angry with Finance minister Tendai Biti for suggesting that resettled farmers need title deeds to ensure their land can be used as tradable security.
Biti, who was presenting his Mid-Term Budget Review in Parliament on Wednesday, incensed the MPs when he suggested that the 99-year leases which government issued to thousands of farmers resettled under the chaotic land reform programme, did not provide security of tenure requisite for land to be transferable.
“Governments, especially this government, have no capacity to adequately finance agriculture. If we say that we want to develop this economy through agriculture, then we need banks to come in and finance agriculture. 99-year leases are not enough. We need titled security.”
The behaviour of Zanu PF MPs is not only surprising but displays shocking ignorance of modern-day farming, a vocation which most of them purport to be engaged in.
Here are legislators shouting themselves hoarse to declare they are safer without protection on their farms. They do not want title to their land. They do not want land to be security. The dichotomy here is that they still expect funding for their farming activities from banks which must provide money without collateral. The MPs want banks to change the way they do business to accommodate this unbankable plan. How embarrassing!
Biti is right after all that government should expedite interventions to overcome the challenges related to absence of a land tenure system which guarantees entitlement to land.
We believe security of tenure would unlock land value and facilitate investment on farms.
According to the Finance minister the current arrangement has so far only been able to process very few 99-year leases, with only 122 having been issued. This year so far, only two leases are being presented as having been issued.
Therefore, without title deeds or securitised 99-year leases recognised in a Constitution and in an Act of Parliament, land in Zimbabwe will remain as dead capital.
As long as this economy continues to be agriculture-dependent but without security of tenure, then all significant growth ambitions will remain unrealised, argued Biti.
The disapproval by Zanu PF MPs to the proposals is solely for selfish gains by ‘chefs’ who after vandalising the farms that they resettled themselves on, have continued to hop from one property to another in search of well-maintained and fully utilised properties.
It is disturbing to note that even as Biti was speaking in Parliament, some farms were being grabbed. It is also sad that the majority of these farms are now being taken from fellow blacks.
Therefore it is our contention that once title deeds are given this will bring sanity in the agriculture sector as it would curb continued land grabbing and/or looting.
The current position is untenable because in many cases the people being resettled are also told not to erect permanent shelter.
There is a high turnover in new settler population, with people coming and leaving resettled areas after varying periods of time.
The absence of legal security and government assistance has left the majority vulnerable to hunger and displacement.
As a consequence of the perceived lack of security of tenure, how dare Zanu PF expect financial institutions to lend money to farmers without tradable security?

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