10 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Govt to Conduct Farm Productivity Survey

GOVERNMENT will this year conduct a farm productivity survey aimed at identifying areas in which farmers need assistance, a Cabinet Minister has said. Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement Minister Herbert Murerwa said Government had set up a budget to conduct the exercise.

The programme is expected to enhance productivity on the land.

"We want our farmers to be assisted so that they fully utilise the land. The survey my ministry will carry out will determine how farmers can be assisted," he said.

He said Government had noted with concern the low land utilisation across the country.

This, he said, had also seen some resettled farmers leasing their properties to white commercial farmers who lost their farms during the Government's land redistribution programme.

Minister Murerwa could not, however, give a figure on how much the programme would cost the Government.

"We say those who cannot use these farms should surrender them to authorities so that we can give those who are capable," he said.

"We, however, sympathise with farmers because Government has not been able to support them.

"Agriculture is the backbone of our economy and unless the farmers are assisted, the country will not be able to realise its potential."

Minister Murerwa said it was Government's responsibility, together with private players to assist farmers.

"Farmers can be assisted in many ways, the private sector can boost productivity through contract growing to farmers," he said.

He, however, bemoaned poor funding of agricultural activities by Treasury.

"Government wanted to carry out land audit but it was never funded. We still plan to carry out that exercise should resources be made available," he said.

The purpose of land audit was to enable Government to identify cases of multiple farm ownership and land utilisation.

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