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Two Decades After Land Grab, Zimbabwe Starts Paying Farmers

HARARE, ZIMBABWE - AUGUST 01: Farm owner Andrew Pascoe visits one of his corn fields as it is harvested at Ivordale Farm on August 1, 2018 outside Harare, Zimbabwe. Commercial farmer Andrew Pascoe runs the 330-hectare farm east of Harare. His father started the business in the 1950’s. The farm grows wheat mostly, maize and Soya Beans, with a dairy herd of 170 cows, a further 280 for beef, plus a piggery with 1200 animals. Before the land reform ‘initiative’, Mr Pascoe owned 1725 Hectares but was left with only 224, only 60 of which that was arable. He currently runs the 60 hectares of his own land, with the rest falling under a ‘joint venture’ program. In 2000 the then President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, ran a land reform program that aimed to redistribute the farm land mostly owned by white Zimbabweans, to black subsistence farmers. The policy was seen as a disaster, with around 4000 white farmers forcibly removed from their farms, often violently. The policy crippled the agricultural sector and subsequently contributed to the collapse of the economy as those that took over the land lacked the knowledge to run the businesses. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
By Bloomberg
24 Jun 2021 4

Zimbabwe made its first compensation payment as part of an agreement to settle a dispute with White commercial farmers who had their land seized violently two decades ago.

The state-linked Kuvimba Mining House Ltd. transfered $1 million to the farmers as the government asked for a delay in paying the full $3.5 billion compensation it had agreed to a year ago.

While the payment is a fraction of that agreed to, resolving the dispute is key to the country pulling out of the economic stagnation that the seizures, ordered by then President Robert Mugabe triggered. Exports plunged, relations with multilateral lenders were severed, the U.S and the European Union imposed sanctions and Zimbabwe experienced a bout of hyperinflation.

“Government asked that the payments be spread out,” Andrew Pascoe, president of the Commercial Farmers’ Union of Zimbabwe, said in an interview in the capital, Harare, Wednesday. “This represents the first money we have received.”

Read More: Zimbabwe’s economic crisis and hyperinflation

The farmers were originally to be paid half of the damages agreed to by next month, but the government requested that be put off for 12 months, Pascoe said.

Zimbabwe’s government controls 65% of Kuvimba through a 21.5% direct stake and other shareholding via state entities, including a sovereign wealth fund, pension funds and a special purpose vehicle created for farmers whose land was seized, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said Wednesday. However, there have been contradictory claims about the ownership of Kuvimba’s assets.

The payment was part of $5.2 million given to shareholders.

Under the agreement with farmers, the government proposed selling a 30-year bond on global markets to raise the money, but this has been delayed because of the effect of the coronavirus pandemic.

The state’s decision to make farmers shareholders in Kuvimba and to give others 99-year leases signaled a commitment to settle its obligations, Pascoe said.

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  • This minuscule payment is intended as partial compensation for improvements made on the land not for the land itself. It seems the United Kingdom is still considered to have sold stolen goods, the land, to the Rhodesians and so remains liable for compensating the white farmers for the land only.

  • Any such agreement will only last while the Government of Zimbabwe sees it as the only way to start resurrecting their economy. They have lied before and are desperately looking for ways to increase their income through misappropriation of Aid funding.
    Farmers – dont hold your breath?!!!!!