HomeLocalWhite Farmers Must Also be Considered –– Jomic

White Farmers Must Also be Considered –– Jomic

THE Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (Jomic) has written to President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy Arthur Mutambara –– the principals of the global political agreement (GPA) –– to consider former white commercial farmers when issuing 99-year land leases.

Responding to questions from the Zimbabwe Independent on the implementation of the GPA, Jomic said it recently wrote to the principals and line ministries requesting updates on what they were doing to comply with provisions of the power-sharing pact signed in September last year.

Jomic has also launched investigations into allegations of fresh farm occupations and disruptions.

“The Jomic subcommittee on land is engaged in ongoing investigations on what is happening on the farms,” the committee said. “It has also asked the principals to the GPA to consider former white commercial farmers when issuing 99-year leases.”

The move to consider white farmers for the land leases came in the wake of heightened tenure worries on farms as more farmers face uncertain futures countrywide.

The Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) this week said several farmers were being forced off their land and expressed fear that this would affect agricultural output.

The farmers union in a statement said: “Productive commercial farmers continue to be prosecuted by the Attorney-General’s office. Currently this figure stands at 152 farmers. Several other farmers are facing forced evictions, illegal possession of farm equipment and materials in the presence of both beneficiaries and government authorities.  This is clearly in violation of the terms of the global political agreement.”

The impact of the prosecutions and occurrences countrywide, the CFU said, would have a disastrous impact on the summer cropping programme.

“The CFU therefore calls upon government to immediately stabilise the current situation as a matter of urgency.  This call is made in the interests of the nation as a whole,” the union said. “As commercial farmers, we are prepared to contribute to Zimbabwe’s food self-sufficiency, but can only do so given the opportunity. Full production of commercial farmland would alleviate the necessity for the constant importation of essential food to Zimbabwe.”

It called upon government to clarify whether or not white commercial farmers had any role to play in the future of food production in the country.

The CFU said in 2007 farmers were told that land was available on a one-man-one farm and non-racial basis and were encouraged to make applications to the Ministry of Agriculture through A2 application forms.

“Approximately 800 applications were made but to date no individual farmer has received confirmation or rejection of their application,” the CFU said. “It is a well-known fact that a substantial amount of agricultural land has been abandoned and unutilised during the course of the fast track land acquisition programme.  However, Zimbabwe’s commercial farmers, who are very highly rated internationally, and who have the knowledge and experience in high volume and high quality commercial production, are being denied access to their farms.”

As a result of alleged fresh land occupations, the General Agriculture and Plantation Workers’ Union of Zimbabwe (Gapwuz) reported that over 60 000 farm workers were made homeless since February 2009.
The labour union estimates that between 80% and 90% of farm workers lost their jobs since the 2000 chaotic land reform programme.

 

Chris Muronzi

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