HomeLocalA2 farmers to pay backdated rents, levies

A2 farmers to pay backdated rents, levies

Augustine Mukaro

GOVERNMENT will soon unveil three land tenure systems under which A2 farmers will now be charged rentals for land they lease from government backdated

from the day they moved onto their properties.

Currently A2 farmers have resisted paying rentals to councils which have no mechanisms of enforcement. In addition to paying rentals the farmers would be required to pay all levies, fees and charges as may be determined by the local authority.

Through this arrangement government hopes to force the new farmers to pay the requisite land taxes, the main revenue source for rural district councils.

“The lessee shall pay rental for the period between the date of first occupation and the date when this lease comes to force,” the lease document says. “This amount shall be paid within three months of signing this lease.”

The rentals would be determined by the area and situation of the farm, plus the existing infrastructure at the time of occupation and agricultural activities undertaken at the property.

“An annual rental shall be payable on or before the 1st January of each and every year during the currency of this lease. The rental may be reviewed and increased annually by the lessor by such reasonable amount as the lessor may determine,” the document says.

Officials in the Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement ministry said by August resettled farmers will start to sign tenure of security documents in tandem with the farm they occupied. The tenure documents would be in form of 99-year leases for A2 farms, 25-year contracts for safaris and conservancies and permits for A1 farms.

“All land classified as A1 Model scheme would be governed by permits,” an official said. “The permits would operate along the same lines as the communal area type of customary tenure.”

The official said all conservancies, trophy hunting safaris, and game reserves would be governed by statutory tenure in the form of 25-year contracts.

“A contractual licence would be issued by the state under the provisions of some enabling regulations,” the official said.

He said all land classified under A2 or large scale commercial would be governed by a 99-year lease.

New land beneficiaries will also go through a rigorous vetting exercise and be required to produce a convincing five-year development plan and a production plan for a similar period before they could sign the lease agreement. The new requirements could see a number of non-performing land grabbers failing to meet set criteria, ultimately forcing them off the land.

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