Zimbabwe is asking unproductive farm owners to create partnerships in order to boost agricultural productivity, as well as reduce the country’s import bill. Farms that are “abandoned, derelict or under-utilised” will be repossessed and redistributed to those on a waiting list for land.
The decree signals a significant policy shift for the country.
Agriculture minister Anxious Masuka said that the joint ventures would require government clearance and that a database to match landowners with possible investors would be built, as reported by Bloomberg.
In 2000, Zimbabwe’s government led by the late president Robert Mugabe, was under increasing pressure to improve the lives of citizens, therefore it seized properties from mostly white commercial farmers and redistributed them to black farmers.
Correcting mistakes from the past
As a result of the land grabs, Zimbabwe has become a net importer of food. Farm productivity for key foods like corn and tobacco, the country’s principal cash crop, has fallen. Following the expropriation of the farms, certain Western countries implemented sanctions, leading to international isolation and food and foreign money shortages.
After battling two consecutive droughts, treasury’s revised economic growth prediction was based on favorable rains and a higher harvest last year. According to Reuters, the country harvested 2.7 million tonnes of corn in 2021, doubling figures from the previous season.
The government has set 15 February as the deadline for all A1 and A2 farmers to submit their annual farm production reports, as this will help it identify land that is not being properly utilised.