Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Land reforms repackaged: great news

"The change of land tenure has created five myths, the paper noted: Land reform has been a total failure; the beneficiaries of land reform has largely been political cronies; there is no investment in the new resettlements; agriculture is in complete ruins and the rural economy has collapsed.

Despite low capital investment, small-holder farmers have done "reasonably well, particularly in wetter parts of the province. Households have cleared land, planted crops and invested in new assets, many hiring in labour from nearby communal land."

A2 schemes, or small-scale commercial farms, have felt the constraints of the economic meltdown, but there were "notable exceptions" where new farming enterprises have emerged "against all the odds".

While not denying that political patronage was at play in the allocation of "high value" farms close to the capital, Harare, 60 percent of beneficiaries in Masvingo were "ordinary farmers" originating from nearby communal lands.

"This was not a rich, politically-connected elite but poor, rural people in need of land and keen to finally gain the fruits of independence," the report said. "

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