THE Bankers Association of Zimbabwe (BAZ) says it is happy with the new features of the 99 year lease offered to farmers resettled under the country’s fast track land reform exercise.
BAZ president Webster Rusere in an interview at the Harare Agriculture Show (HAS) said they had seen the final document and their concerns with the initial document were addressed.
“We want the 99 year document finalized we have seen the final document and are happy with it, we now wait for the farmers to approach our membership with their proposals. Collateral is not the major issue but the viability and the proposal and expertise of those pushing the proposal. Our concerns with the lease have been addressed”.
Government is expected to announce the new features of the 99 year lease once President Mnangagwa announces his cabinet.
Since the land reform exercise bankers have shied away from extending loans to the resettled farmers as they did not have title to the land.
Government then came up with the 99 year lease but bankers felt the document was not sufficient to cover them in the event of default.
An economist who spoke on condition of anonymity said the move was a major break-through that could open funding for farmers resettled under the fast track land reform programme.
He said agriculture is based on land tenure and title deeds confer certain rights that include giving value to the land and ability to access finance.
Unfortunately government had not passed tenure to beneficiaries of the land reform exercise hence the difficulties newly resettled farmers have found in attracting investors and capital.
“The mid- long term sustainability of agriculture requires title deeds. We require a strong policy position on land security and once that is done everything else will fall into place,” said the economist.