Obtain offer letters, white farmers told

Wimbainashe Zhakata Mutare Correspondent
GOVERNMENT has challenged white farmers who got land to get offer letters and have access to 99-year leases.

This was said by Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Minister Perrance Shiri while addressing dairy farmers in Nyanga recently.

He said most white farmers were reluctant to get offer letters.

“We have got a number of white farmers who are on the land. The land used to be their farm but it was acquired by Government and it is now State land.

“Due to some misconceptions, these farmers do not want to believe that their land was acquired by Government so they would rather remain on the farm without offer letters. We advise them to get offer letters,” said Minister Shiri.

He said it was ill-advised for anyone to be on the land without an offer letter.

“Operating without offer letters is not advisable. It stops Government from allocating that piece of land to someone else. In our records it will indicate that the farm was acquired and it is now Government property but not allocated to anyone else,” said Minister Shiri.

He said Government will not deny anyone an offer letter if they applied for it.

“We will give first priority to whoever is there. We are not going to deny anyone access to offer letters. You automatically qualify because you are already on the land so it is very important that we formalise our stay to avoid unnecessary problems,” said Minister Shiri.

He said anyone with an A2 farm was entitled to a 99-year lease.

“Very few farmers have secured 99-year leases today. Before the new dispensation ‘white farmers’ were only given five-year leases.

“With the coming in of the new dispensation, the policy changed and said they should convert those five-year leases to 99-year leases like anybody else,” said Minister Shiri.

Meanwhile, farmers in Manicaland have been encouraged to embrace new farming practices in the wake of rapidly changing technology, writes our Manicaland correspondent Susan Nyamangodo.

In an interview yesterday, Manicaland provincial agricultural technical and extension services officer Mrs Phillipa Rwambiwa encouraged farmers to make use of chemicals to control weeds.

“The purpose of the introduction of the modern industrial herbicides is to control weeds,” she said.

The species of weeds that plague crops today are a consequence of historical farming practices.

“The use of herbicides is a welcome development as it reduces time and costs on the farmer’s part,” said Mrs Rwambiwa.

“Famers are being urged to continue using chemical weed control because it reduces the soil disruption since there is no need to plough;” she added.

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