giraffes.jpgStakeholders in the wildlife sector have called for speedy implementation of the Wildlife-based Land Reform Policy, in a move which is expected to see indigenous people also having a stake in the sector.

With five years having passed since the wildlife-based land reform policy was crafted, its implementation has remained elusive.

Locals with interests in the wildlife sector have said the implementation of the policy will be in line with the Indigenisation and Empowerment Act which seeks to empower the black majority.

Chairperson for Save Valley Conservancy Trust,  Mr. Abrahim Sithole,  said white people dominating the wildlife sector are the major impediments to the implementation of the policy as they want it to remain under their control.

He said the land reform programme concentrated mostly on the resettlement for crop and livestock production at the expense of wildlife production, hence the need to address the imbalance in the sector.

“There is no will from the current farmers to share the wildlife production sector with the blacks who are interested in investing in the industry,” said Mr Sithole.

Conservation Committee of Parks Chairperson Mr. Jerry Gotora said the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority is there to safeguard the heritage of the country, thus it encourages resettled farmers on wildlife areas to enter into the wildlife sector as a land use option.

He said: “The policy is there to facilitate the indigenisation of the wildlife sector and to ensure more equitable access by the majority of Zimbabweans to land and wildlife resources and to the business opportunities that stem from these resources.

“Parks and Wildlife Management Authority retains the role of monitoring processes of what’s happening on the ground and to safeguard national heritage for posterity.”

At Independence in 1980, the new majority government inherited a racially skewed land ownership structure with white commercial farmers who constituted less than 1% of the population occupying 45% of agricultural land in the highly productive regions.

The black population remained mostly in the drier and less productive agro-ecological regions 4 and 5 where game ranching and wildlife production represent a viable land use option.