Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC), has called on the government to expedite and finalise the land audit and pave way for meaningful contribution to the economy by the country’s agricultural sector.
Following the chaotic and fast-tracked land reform of the year 2000 which resulted in some farmers occupying but not utilising land, Zimbabwe’s farming sector has never performed to its optimum.
The Zimbabwe Land Commission mandated to carry out a land audit with the objective of dealing with the issue of multi-farm ownerships and unproductive farms has not covered much ground on the matter.
ZNCC vice president responsible for Matabeleland, Golden Muoni, said the issue of unproductive farmers should be dealt with expeditiously as it was affecting economic recovery.
“Why can’t we just close this land audit as a matter of urgency and make sure that those with land which is not productive they are not allowed to be seen again on the piece of land,” said Muoni.
“Agriculture is the backbone; we are an agro-economy. After land reform of year 2000 many people were given land, some with capacity, and some with no capacity. But that land was not used; that land is not used. This is where the raw materials are coming from.”
Muoni said it was regrettable that companies like United Refineries Limited were forced to import soya owing to failure by farmers to produce enough raw materials for the local industry.
“They (companies) are importing soya, which is a lot of money in US dollars, which is going out of the economy every single day,” he bemoaned.
“We want production and this production is going to be answered by making sure that the land which we are sitting on is productive. If you want to be a doctor or any government official or anyone, if you want land get a piece of land, maybe about one hectare or two hectares, not getting 300, 500, or 1,000 hectares.”
He took a swipe at farmers who are not utilising their land.
“That land is not used and we are importing maize when we have the highest concentration of water bodies in Sub-Sahara Africa. We are busy importing GMOs,” he further lamented.