Many white farmers in Zimbabwe lost their properties and land in the early 2000s as a result of the controversial land reforms under former President, Robert Mugabe.
Prior to the 2018 general election, the current government pledged that white farmers will receive compensation for farms that were seized.
It has been reported that the compensation process is already underway and it is believed that $53 million will be set aside for this program. The Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers’ Union welcomes the idea, its director, Ben Gilpin said,
“Generally, the amounts that people get are a fraction of what their properties are worth and the amounts are spread, payments that take up a number to complete. But it is a start and it is an acknowledgement.”
“I think at the same time the budget acknowledges that there is a bigger problem, and the government needs to work to try and find a way around that.”
At least 4000 white farmers had their land dispossessed, forcing many to relocate to neighbouring countries. It is unclear whether the $53 million allocated for compensation will be for all farmers affected. The government is yet to also specify the duration of this program as well as, the amount each farmer who had land seized will receive in compensation.
The government remains committed to assist those affected under the land reforms. The move to compensate white farmers could potentially have a positive impact on the economy. As time goes by, farmers keen to return to Zimbabwe should be given full support by the government to revive the agriculture sector.