Zimbabwe land claims: No winners as meagre payments to white farmers revealed

Zimbabwe’s land reform came at a huge cost to many hard-working white farmers who were forced off their land, which was in turn handed out to government cronies. This week, the Zimbabwean government revealed how much it has spent compensating white commercial farmers. The total amount is very small when you consider that huge tracts of productive land were seized. The figure comes in at an average of $1m for each of 43 farmers who received compensation, assuming that the amount was spread evenly across the group. The real cost, however, has been to Zimbabwe, with most of that land not being put to good use after white farmers were ejected. It didn’t take long for Zimbabwe’s status as Africa’s bread basket to collapse and, in turn, the economy to nose-dive. Zimbabwe imports most of its food now, with many people relying on vermin and wildlife for survival. In the land reform programme, there have been few winners. – Jackie Cameron

From News24

Bulawayo – The Zimbabwean government has spent nearly $43 million compensating white commercial farmers whose farms were acquired during the country’s land reform programme, a report said on Monday.

A Zimbabwean child sits between bales at the Boka Tobacco Auction Floors in Harare April 14, 2015. Fifteen years after Zimbabwe's agriculture sector collapsed in the face of President Robert Mugabe's seizure of white-owned farms, its tobacco industry is again booming, with black farmers funded by private firms producing a near record crop. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo
A Zimbabwean child sits between bales at the Boka Tobacco Auction Floors in Harare. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

According to the state-owned Herald newspaper, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa said that the country had “made strides towards compensating” the white farmers, despite its financial troubles.

Chinamasa further claimed that land rentals and levies paid by beneficiaries of the land reform programme were some of the resources that would be used to compensate the white farmers affected by the land reform programme.

“To date, $42.7 million has been paid out for 43 farms, notwithstanding fiscal constraints being faced by Government. “Government is expediting mapping and valuation of improvements on farms acquired under the land reform programme so that it can compensate the farmers,” Chinamasa was quoted saying.

President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party launched the land reforms in 2000, taking over white-owned farms to resettle landless blacks.

Read also: Malema: SA needs Zimbabwe-style land expropriation without compensation

Mugabe said the reforms were meant to correct colonial land ownership imbalances.

At least 4 000 white commercial farmers were evicted from their farms.

Shona_farms_Zimbabwe_Mar_2016

The land seizures were often violent, claiming the lives of several white farmers during clashes with veterans of Zimbabwe’s 1970s liberation struggle.

Critics of the reforms have blamed the programme for low production on the farms as the majority of the beneficiaries lacked the means and skills to work the land. – News 24

Source: http://www.news24.com/Africa/Zimbabwe/crisis-hit-zim-govt-pays-43m-to-white-farmers-report-20160912-2

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