Nesia Mhaka Herald Reporter
The European Union (EU) has commended the Government for taking various measures to improve land governance after undertaking the Land Reform Programme.
The EU has donated over US$5 million in the past years to support a land governance programme focusing on capacity-building and institutional support.
Making interventions during a workshop organised by the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement in Harare last week, EU head of cooperation Mrs Irene Giribaldi said despite several challenges, notable achievements were recorded in the past years.
“These include an almost completed and updated database inventory of improvements of former commercial farms (total farms where inventories that have been made are above 4 000).
“A structured dialogue between the Government or the ministry and representative of former commercial farmers to achieve a consensus-based mechanism for compensation of those farms and the capacitation of ministry staff across various key departments including Valuation, the Department of Surveyor General as well as supporting the set-up and capacity-building of the Zimbabwe Land Commission (ZLC) to perform in its key mandate areas such as the implementation of a Dispute Resolution framework,” said Mrs Giribaldi
She said there was now an updated Land Information Management Systems (LIMS).
“Supporting infrastructure for LIMS is now used for data exchange and databases management of farms,” Mrs Giribaldi said.
“The EU also facilitated the review of the Zimbabwe multi-tier land tenure systems which provide recommendations for new opportunities and future positive changes.”
She said more needed to be done.
“Many problems Zimbabwe is facing today are still directly or indirectly linked to a weak land governance and administration system,” she said.
“In situations where access and use of land is insecure and contested, farmers do not invest in land. This has a negative impact on agricultural productivity, makes sustainable use of the land unlikely and undermines soil quality. Competition over land and disputed land rights are an important source of conflicts often coinciding with forced displacement and migration.
“While the current programme has established good foundation and a momentum for further engagement, lessons from the previous program also indicate the need for development of a more comprehensive, holistic, right based and cost-efficient land governance and administration system. In this regard, the EU is prepared to continue its support.”
Mrs Giribaldi said political reorientation and commitment of the new Government, which includes the ban on farm occupations and a commitment to compensate former farm owners, provided a further enabling environment for the EU to reinforce their support.
Source : The Herald