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Downsizing of farms begins in Zimbabwe

GOVERNMENT is inspecting underutilised farms and those exceeding maximum sizes as it prepares to downsize them, The Manica Post has established.

This follows recommendations by the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement to reduce the sizes of at least 15 farms in the province in order to boost capacity utilisation.

In 2016, four farms in Chipinge were identified for the exercise. Thirteen were identified in Makoni, two in Nyanga and six in Mutare.

No farms were identified in Buhera, Mutasa and Chinamimani districts.

The Minister of State for Manicaland Provincial Affairs, Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba, told The Manica Post on Monday that Government is seized with downsizing the farms.

"We are carrying out an exercise to downsize the farms in line with the Government's directive. We must adhere to the maximum farm size per each region.

"The land size or hectarage is based on the capacity of the farmers.

There are people who do not even understand the importance of the land they are sitting on. You see someone on a tree plantation cutting down the trees to grow maize," she said.

Dr Gwaradzimba said the land re-allocations will prioritise those with capacity to productively utilise land.

She said war veterans, traditional leaders, women and youths would also be catered for.

"There are special groups that are also going to be allocated the land. These include the war veterans because there is a policy that states that they should be given land," she said.

The maximum farm size in Region One, which largely covers Chimanimani, Nyanga, Mutare, Mutasa and Chipinge, was pegged at 250ha. However, this excludes timber plantations.

In Region Two, which includes parts of Mutare, Makoni and Mutasa districts, the maximum farm size is 500ha.

The farm size ceiling in Region Three, which encompasses parts of Makoni, Mutasa and Mutare districts, is 750ha.

In Regions Four and Five, which largely encompasses parts of Nyanga North, Chipangayi, Chisumbanje, Makoni South and Chipinge, the maximum farm size is 1 500ha and 2 000ha, respectively.

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