Zimbabwe Government issues stiff warning to farm invaders

By Almot Maqolo

Zimbabwe has expressed concern over the illegal occupations of productive farms which are taking place in complete disregard of offer letters which the government has issued to the affected farmers. Land is an emotive issue in the country after the violent invasion of white-owned farms in 2000 by supporters of former late President Robert Mugabe, who defended the seizures as a necessary redress of colonial-era imbalances.

“Government has received numerous reports regarding the resurgence of illegal land occupations, particularly on highly productive farms thereby disrupting production,” said the agriculture and finance ministries in a joint statement without giving any figures. “This comes at a time when the focus should be on increasing utilisation and productivity on agricultural land.” Agriculture is the backbone of the southern African nation.

“Such disorderly behaviour among our citizens is indiscipline of the highest level which government does not condone or tolerate. It should stop forthwith,” reads part of the statement. Last month, the southern African nation agreed to pay US$3.5 billion in compensation to white farmers whose land was expropriated by the government to resettle black families.

Previously, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the land reform could not be reversed but paying of compensation was key to mending ties with the West. abwe through its recently launched Agriculture and Food Systems Transformation Strategy seeks to achieve a US$8.2 billion agriculture economy by 2025.

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