Government, through the Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement, on Tuesday handed over A1 farm offer letters to 250 people drawn from all the nine districts in Mashonaland East Province as a revived accelerated land distribution programme continues.
by Jairos Saunyama
The A1 farms measure up to six hectares each.
The offer letters were signed by provincial chief lands officer Wilfred Motsi, Mashonaland East Minister of State for Provincial Affairs Joel Biggie Matiza and provincial administrator Cuthbert Ndarukwa.
Addressing the new land owners at the government offices in Marondera during the handover ceremony, Matiza urged the new farmers to fully utilise the land.
“There is no going back. People need land and to those who have been given offer letters, please utilise the land. It is a 6ha piece of land, but something comes out of it,” he said.
“We need to improve our food security as is demanded by the economic blueprint, ZimAsset, and it is you who have to make a contribution as farmers. The farms which you are going to get your pieces of land have water bodies in them and I hope you are going to capitalise on that through irrigation schemes.”
Added Matiza: “This is the second phase, the chiefs got land, and another phase is coming immediately after ZITF (Zimbabwe International Trade Fair).”
Three farm owners were given a 90-day ultimatum to move out of their land to pave way for the 250 new farmers.
“Do not rush into the farms. You need to wait for the relevant authorities to tell you to do so. We have secured three farms and have given the farm owners a 90-day period to wind up their activities before you take over,” Matiza said.
Since his appointment following the conclusion of the tumultous Zanu PF congress late last year and the subsequent Cabinet shake-up, Matiza has embarked on a whirlwind acceleration of land redistribution that has seen traditional chiefs and war veterans getting land.
Mashonaland East was reportedly still harbouring hidden pockets of idle land.
Former Zanu PF provincial chairperson Ray Kaukonde has been accused of shielding a number of white farm owners, leaving the province with the highest numbers of commercial farms.
Meanwhile, the Mashonaland East provincial website has been launched in a move aimed at marketing and attracting meaningful investment in the province through e-governance.
Addressing stakeholders at the Women’s University of Africa on Monday, Matiza said the www.mashonalandeast.org website, which is his brainchild, would be a milestone in attracting investment to the province.