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Zimbabwe govt guns for maximum land utilisation

by Staff reporter
20 Apr 2023 at 07:33hrs | Views
Government has put in place several maesures, such as penalising multiple land owners and re-allocation, to ensure that every piece of agricultural land is fully utilised, NewsDay Farming reported.

The move, according to Agriculture secretary John Basera, is meant to boost productivity and promote land utilisation.

"The land audit is an ongoing exercise and the ministry has put in place a number of systems to make sure every inch of agricultural land is utilised. Multiple land ownership is strongly penalised and re-allocations are ongoing," Basera told NewsDay Farming.

To ensure that every available piece of land is utilised to boost productivity, the permanent secretary said in 2016 the government rolled out the National Enhanced Agriculture Productivity Scheme (NEAPS), commonly known as Command Agriculture or Special Agriculture Programme for Import Substitution.

The NEAPS initiative has since laid a solid foundation to ensure national food security, accelerate import substitution, increase employment, improve incomes and livelihoods and provide a basis for broadening agricultural exports, according to Basera.

"Over 15 000 farmers benefit from the private sector-fronted NEAPS annually, while over 2,3 million small-holder farmers benefit from the productive social protection schemes annually," he said.

According to Basera, the ministry will continue to implement a two-pronged approach to facilitate and support agricultural activities.

"The ministry is also promoting joint ventures between investors and farmers with underutilised land. A cocktail of new measures, now regarded as a new policy position regulating joint venture arrangements, is in essence meant to enhance the bankability of joint ventures.

"Joint ventures enhance access to agricultural inputs for farm owners with poor resource endowments at the same time also ensuring open access to land for investment by investors without actually owning a piece of land," he added.

The technocrat said various initiatives had been rolled out by the government over the past years such as the electronic Farmer-Investor Match Making Platform to promote joint ventures.

Through this platform, investors have the chance to link up with landholders in a regulated manner which potentially leads to maximum land utilisation and provide an opportunity to enhance the flow of investment into the agricultural space driving agricultural transformation, rural industrialisation and ultimately rural development.

Land reform beneficiaries faced challenges in accessing funds to support their farming operations.

But Basera said the ministry was putting in place measures that would culminate in the bankability of the 99-year lease through working with the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe and other stakeholders.

Source - newsday