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Lands and Rural Resettlement Minister Dr Douglas Mombeshora has said Government has a right to acquire land for resettlement, but can exempt farms engaged in operations considered strategic to national development. Dr Mombeshora said no land was immune to acquisition although special considerations could be given to strategic activities like dairy and seed producing farms.

This came in the wake of reports that the Midlands Land Committee had resolved to spare 30 white commercial farmers from eviction because they were contributing significantly to the province. There are reports that 16 dairy white farmers and 14 others in cattle ranching were spared from eviction.

“There is no law for white farmers. There is nothing special about white farmers. The policy does not deal with whether the farmer is white or black, but the activities being undertaken on the farm.

“Indigenous farmers may be spared from land acquisition for the purpose of empowerment. We want to spare dairy (farmers) and seed producers, especially tobacco seed producers because we want these commodities. A farmer’s stay (whether black or white) may depend on the community in the province.

“We have special conditions that allow such farmers to remain on farms. But if the farmer does not co-exist with others, we will take the farm,” he said.

Dr Mombeshora said after the land acquisition, indigenous farmers would be compensated for their land and developments, while colonial farmers would be compensated only for improvements on the farm.

“We can also take farms under the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement and compensate fully for the land and improvements,” he said.

Vice President and Justice, Legal Parliamentary Affairs Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa recently said farm allocations were the sole responsibility of the Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement through the National Land Committee.

Source : The Herald