Farmer organisations have welcomed governmentâ€™s intention to review 99 year leases so as to accord them collateral value saying the move will further consolidate the gains of the land reform programme.The major handicap to agricultural productivity in Zimbabwe has been the failure by farmers to acquire loans from banks due to lack of collateral security.
However, this is set to be a thing of the past as government has announced that the 99 year leases will be transformed to accord them collateral value.
President Mugabe revealed this at the official opening of the 4th Session of the 7th Parliament of Zimbabwe in Harare where he noted that A2 farmers would use the leases to secure funding.
Zimbabwe Farmers Union first vice president, Mr. Abdul Nyathi noted that this is a positive development which is expected to enhance productivity on the farms as the inclusive government has virtually failed to support agriculture.
â€œAs farmers, we have been calling on government to consider this as banks were refusing to accept the leases saying they were not bankable….. so this is good,â€ said Mr. Nyathi.
Zimbabwe Commercial Framers Union acting director, Mr Peter Gambara called on government to expedite the process and ensure that banks will not backtrack on the issue.
â€œIf all is followed procedurally then there is no problem, but the process should be quickened so that farmers can start benefitting immediately,â€ Mr. Gambara said.
Responding to concerns that the failure by farmers to repay the loans will result in farms being sold to the white former commercial farmers, agricultural analyst Mr. Jonathan Kadzura said government can be a guarantor so that the land remains in the hands of the indigenous people.
Zimbabwe embarked on the land reform programme to redress colonial imbalances in land ownership with the successful exercise being hindered by lack of support.
However, with the recent pronouncement, positive development is set to be witnessed in the form of maximum productivity on the farms.