THE Zimbabwe Land Commission (ZLC) says resettled farmers under Zimbabwe’s fast track land reform exercise are worried over the delays in issuing title which has significantly affected their ability to invest and increase productivity on the farms.
Last year the commission only recommended 148 farms to be issued with 99 year leases out of the 188 applications received.
“Farmers are worried about the lack of security of tenure on the pieces of land they were allocated which was said to be a draw back when it comes to doing meaningful investments on farms. As such, the farmers called for expediting of farm inspections for the 99 year leases,” said ZLC in its annual report for 2017 tabled before parliament.
However, financial institutions are not too keen on accepting the leases as collateral arguing they do not offer sufficient cover in the event of default.
Under law 99 year leases in respect of Gazetted or State Land can only be issued when the commission has considered the application for a lease.
ZLC said it had faced challenges in exercising its mandate which include delays in release of fund for farms inspections, mobility constraints in carrying out farms inspections.
Other challenges noted include constraints in equipment such as computers, GPRS receivers and printers.
ZLC also said farmers are not happy with the land levy of US$5 per hectare for A2 farmers which they felt were too high and should be reviewed.
Farmers further opined that the levy should not be wholly directed to compensating the former commercial farmers but part of it was better directed towards infrastructure development in the farm areas.
The government owes the former farmers a staggering US$9 billion in compensation for improvements made on the farms before the land reform exercise.
ZLC also noted that some farmers complained of incessant threats of repossession of land they were allocated.