In a bid to make amends for his controversial land reform policy, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe is set to collect land rentals from new black farmers to help compensate white farmers whose land was seized by his government.
The State-controlled Herald newspaper reported yesterday that the decision to collect rentals from new farmers was an effort by the ageing Mugabe’s government to restore confidence in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe’s Lands and Rural Resettlement Minister Douglas Mombeshora said commercial and communal land reform farm beneficiaries will – from this year – start paying rentals, with funds being channelled towards compensating former white farmers.
Mombeshora told the Masvingo provincial lands committee on Thursday that black commercial farmers would pay US$3 land rental per hectare and US$2 unit tax per hectare annually.
He said Zimbabwe’s cabinet had approved payment of a land rental by all beneficiaries of the land reform programme, and the ministry would not only collect the land rentals but unit tax.
Mugabe’s latest move is another admission that his land reform programme was a failure. The new move can be seen as another measure to lure foreign investment.
The collapse of agriculture in Zimbabwe due to state-sponsored farm seizures in 2000 has resulted in acute food shortages.
SUNDAY TIMES NEWS BY BONGANI MTHETHWA