Zim to audit A1 farms
The A1 farms are the small farms for peasant farmers designed to relieve intolerable overcrowding in the communal lands, the former native reserves. Those with capital were usually granted the larger A2 farms, which have already seen preliminary audits.
Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement permanent secretary, Ngoni Masoka, said the audit would shed more light on issues pertaining to land uptake and multiple farm ownership.
“We will be embarking on an audit of A1 resettlement scheme next year, which will shed a lot of light on a number of aspects relating to multiple and double farm ownership,” he said while presenting oral evidence before the Parliamentary Portfolio committee on Agriculture, Lands and Water Resources.
A total of 140 698 A1 families have been resettled on 2 740 farms measuring 2 681 642 hectares.
Some 6 517 farms measuring over 10 million hectares have also been gazetted for resettlement purposes since the launch of the fast track programme in 2000.
Masoka said land survey and demarcation in the country could have been expedited if foreign currency resources had been available to the Surveyor General’s Department to set up more base stations.
He said plans to establish base stations in Bulawayo, Harare, Masvingo and Binga were being hampered by forex constraints as US$ 85 000 (US$1=Z$250) was needed to establish each base station.
“We urge you to keep on lobbying for the Surveyor General’s Department to be allocated adequate funds for its operations,” Masoka urged the committee.
“We want to survey 15 000 farms and it is going to take us two and a half years to finish the surveys, yet if we had the base stations we would finish this by middle of next year.”
Masoka said there was a serious shortage of surveyor generals and valuation officers in the country, with the government having only two valuation officers and one surveyor general.
One valuation officer was with the Harare City Council and another one with the surveyor general department.
Meanwhile, Masoka condemned the farm disruptions still occurring at some farms.
“Our stance has been to form mechanisms to stop disruptions. They are not tolerable at all,” he said.
He said institutional mechanisms were now available to stop farm disruptions starting from the district land committee, provincial land committee to the Inspectorate Land Board.
Commercial Farmers Union chief executive, Hendrik Olivier, had raised the issue during the same meeting where he urged government to help stop disruptions on farms.
Masoka however said their investigations had revealed that some of the disruptions were exaggerated, blaming these on farmers who deliberately refused to pave way for new farmers with offer letters. Cases of farm disruptions were however declining.
Legislator for Masvingo South and chairman of the committee, Walter Mzembi, said investigations by the committee had revealed that farming activities were being disrupted by the same people who had been so since 2000.
“In our committee we call them A5 framers,” he said. “These are people who have from 2000 habitually moved from one farm to another disrupting operations. They have even gone into private property. We have information on these people and we want government to put a stop to this.” ‘ New Ziana