The government plans to boost agricultural output by offering incentives to farmers who fled at the height of the controversial land reform programme at the turn of the century.

At independence, white farmers owned more than 70 per cent of the most fertile land and generated 80 per cent of the country’s agricultural output, according to academics.
At independence, white farmers owned more than 70 per cent of the most fertile land and generated 80 per cent of the country’s agricultural output, according to academics. (Reuters Archive)

Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa is trying to get white farmers to return to the country by giving them farms. 

The government plans to boost agricultural output by offering incentives to farmers who fled at the height of the controversial land reform programme at the turn of the century. 

Thousands of white Zimbabwean farmers were evicted from their land in the early 2000s by then President Robert Mugabe’s supporters.

Adesewa Josh reports 

Land ownership has been a central issue for decades in Zimbabwe as it struggles to deal with racial discrimination dating back to British colonial rule in what was then Rhodesia. 

At independence, white farmers owned more than 70 per cent of the most fertile land and generated 80 per cent of the country’s agricultural output, according to academics.

Reforms began after independence with a “willing buyer, willing seller” system aimed at redistributing land to poor black subsistence farmers. In the 1990s, compulsory acquisition of land began with some funding provided by Britain. But for many poor Zimbabweans change was too slow.

Mugabe then approved radical land reforms that encouraged veterans from the fight for liberation to occupy some 4,000 white-owned commercial farms. The move secured him loyalty among the army and ruling party.

Most of the land went to Mugabe supporters, but many did not know how to farm. The agricultural economy and exports suffered.

Source: TRT World