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Government has introduced a new permit for A1 farmers that endorses their security of tenure and governs use of the land.

The new document, which would be launched early next month, is expected to bring sanity to the land distribution programme.

Initially, A1 resettled farmers had been relying on offer letters which were issued at the district administrator’s offices.

Lands and Rural Resettlement Minister Douglas Mombeshora said the offer letters that A1 farmers have been using were not effective as they were not detailed and were issued by several offices thereby creating confusion in the process.

“We have completed drafting the A1 permit according to Statutory Instrument 53 of 2014. The new document is quite detailed as it has rules and regulations governing the use of land.

“The permit will be issued by the Minister of Lands and would be signed by both the owner and a spouse. The document also gives guidelines on the inheritance of the farm in case the owner dies,” he said.

Minister Mombeshora said every A1 farmer would get a permanent permit.

“The permit is just the same as the 99-year lease. It works as a title deed for the land,” he said.

Zimbabwe Indigenous Women Farmers Association Trust president, Mrs Depinah Nkomo welcomed the development saying it was a positive move towards women empowerment.

“The fact that the document recognises the spouse shows that Government is concerned about women. We have lots of cases where women lost farms after the death of their husbands and this will no longer happen,” she said.

Mrs Nkomo said women would now be able to invest on the farms as they now co-own the land.

Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union second vice president, Mr Abdul Nyathi said the permit would enable farmers to make long term plans on their farms without any fear of being removed.

“The permit will enable farmers to use land profitably. We hope this new document will be bankable and farmers would be able to access financial assistance,” he said.

Agriculture economist, Mr Midway Bhunu described the launching of the A1 permit as a positive development that would ensure records regarding A1 farmers are correct and easy to work in the case of land audits. He said the permit would bring sanity in land re-distribution since it would now be handled by the minister only.

Source : The Herald

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