BY VENERANDA LANGA
AGRICULTURE deputy minister Douglas Karoro told Parliament on Thursday that government plans to wrap up its nationwide land use audit next month and, thereafter, redistribute idle land to needy farmers on the waiting list.
“Government wants to see a situation whereby there is fairness in land ownership. There is a land audit that is currently underway and we expect the exercise to be finalised by the end of March,” Karoro said.
“The Land Commission will play a critical role in deciding what has to be done to the land, which is going to be identified.”
Karoro said there were land owners who were not fully utilising their given pieces of land, with the majority being absentee farmers.
“Government may come up with two scenarios. The first scenario is that government is going to keep that land as State land for future development. The other option is that government may decide to redistribute this land to landless people,” he said.
“The redistribution is not going to look at the colour of the farmer. It is not going to look at the political inclination of an individual, neither is it going to look at the religious affiliation of the farmer. A farmer is going to be looked at as a farmer, who has capacity and competence. The essence is that we want to produce enough food for everybody as a country and surplus for export.
“In short, government is looking at ways that are non-discriminatory in terms of allocating land to those people who want land,” he said.
In 2000 government embarked on a fast-track land reform exercise, which often turned violent as white-owned commercial farms were forcibly acquired and redistributed to mostly Zanu PF supporters. As a result some Zanu PF bigwigs ended up with multiple farms.
The ongoing audit is expected to unearth such malpractices.
In response to questions on government’s climate change policy, Karoro said: “Currently, my ministry is consulting various stakeholders to ensure we craft a policy on how to raise funds for climate change and mitigation and other various interventions.”