Home » General » Stakeholders Hail A1 Permits

Newly-resettled farmers have welcomed the issuance of A1 settlement permits which they say have brought finality to the land reform which should enable them to increase investment and productivity now that there is security of tenure.

Most A1 farmers said before the latest developments they were not secure as they did not have security of tenure, but that the permit guaranteed them land rights for an indefinite period.

Speaking after receiving the permit at Chepfunde Farm in Makonde on Wednesday where 79 farmers from Chipfundi and Emily Park Farms were issued with the permits by President Mugabe, Mrs Stembiso Makohliso said the A1 settlement permit was a confirmation of economic empowerment.

“I am now convinced that I am the real owner of the land and I can plan without fear,” she said. “I can now erect permanent structures on my farm. I am glad that the document addresses inheritance issues and women are guaranteed of the land even after the death of a spouse.”

Another beneficiary, Mr Isdore Mtandwa, said he was glad that now he could use the permit to secure loans from banks.

“I can use the permit to get funding from banks,” he said. “We have been experiencing challenges securing funds from banks because we had no collateral, but with the permit we can access loans.”

Zimbabwe Farmers Union director Mr Paul Zakariya said the issuance of the A1 permits was a positive development that should attract investment from local and foreign players.

“Banks should take the permits as security,” he said. “This is how we create wealth. We may have some challenges, but in the long run financial institutions will accept the document.

“In Brazil, farmers do not have title deeds for their farms, but rely on permits to access funding from banks and the same can be done here.”

Chiefs’ Council president, Chief Fortune Charumbira, said the A1 permit was the most precious gift to farmers as land was different from any other type of wealth.

“The land is our heritage,” he said. “It cannot be recreated. Land has been the major cause of conflicts in most countries. In Zimbabwe we fought during the liberation struggle to get the land.”

Chief Charumbira said farmers should be reminded of the long history that saw Zimbabweans getting back their land from the colonial regime.

“The permit will bring orderliness and proper administration of the land,” he said.

Farmers at Chipfunde and Emily Park Farm qualified for the A1 permits because they were fully utilising land for agricultural purposes.

The farmers have developed a scheme code-named “Production assurance plots” where they produced wheat, soyabeans and commercial maize.

Farmers at Chipfunde have resuscitated the irrigation system, while those at Emily Park farm have kept the 80-hectare centre pivot irrigation equipment intact.

There are no illegal settlers at the farm and livestock has enough grazing land.

The issuance of the tenure documents is itemised as one of the critical strategies to optimise agricultural productivity which is a key target of Zim-Asset under the Food Security and Nutrition cluster.

Source : The Herald