Robert Mugabe: The Farms We gave people are too large to manage

BBC News – Robert Mugabe admits Zimbabwe’s land reform flaws

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has admitted failures in the country's controversial land reform programme.

"I think the farms we gave to people are too large. They can't manage them," the 91-year-old leader said in unusually candid comments.

In the past he has tended to blame poor agricultural productivity on the weather and Western sanctions.

More than 4,000 mainly white farmers have been evicted from commercial farms in the last 15 years.

The BBC's Brian Hungwe in the capital, Harare, says it is not the first time President Mugabe has criticised new black farmers - but his comments are surprisingly frank.

They point to continuous problems in accounting for low production levels and the under-utilisation of farms, which reflect badly thought-out land policies, he says.

Mr Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980, was interviewed on the state broadcaster ZBC to mark his 91st birthday, which he celebrated last weekend.

He said he wanted to encourage farmers to go into wheat farming, and blamed low productivity on the new commercial farmers for failing to utilise all their land.

"You find that most of them are just using one third of the land," Zimbabwe's state-owned Herald newspaper quotes him as saying.

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