At least 221 470 resettled farmers are set to receive permanent A1 permits that will enable them to assume full ownership of land and make long term developments.
The document, which will be launched today at Chifundi Farm in Makonde by President Mugabe, could be used as collateral by farmers when borrowing.
A1 farmers did not have permits, but relied on offer letters that were issued by the district administrator.
Lands and Rural Resettlement Minister Douglas Mombeshora, said land distribution presented a lot of challenges.
“There were various offer letters issued out at district level by the DA, but as you know, the DA falls under the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing and as such, we had no control over them, said the minister.
“It created a lot of challenges and at times we realised that the DA would unilaterally allocate land without the concurrence of district lands committee. The offer letter was just a piece of document which was being issued by the DA and it varied in its form from district to district,” he said.
Dr Mombeshora said the Ministry would carry out farm inspections and verification exercises to audit the A1 farms before beneficiaries were given the permits.
The results of the audit would be used to establish the real owners of the land, draft maps and demarcate communal grazing areas, he said.
“This is a long term process, which may take between two to three years. We have not set up a fund; we are still mobilising funds to be used for the programme. By the end of the year, we would have raised a substantial amount.
“We don’t sublet such an exercise by asking a foreigner to do the audits. We don’t want them to say we are doing the audit.
“But if they want to put funds, whether the British want to put the funds, whoever, we say put the funds here and we will do the work ourselves,” he said.
The beneficiaries should be above 21 years, settled on properly planned and verified A1 farm and the allottee should have developed a decent homestead and is utilising land.
Surviving spouses and children or heirs of a holder of a permit will also benefit.
“Beneficiaries have rights to use allocated land for agriculture, pastoral and residential purposes. The permit guarantees land right for an indefinite period and is subject to laws of inheritance in Zimbabwe, said the Minister.
“The permit may be amended to include new spouses if concerned parties are in agreement and divorced spouses retain their rights as land permit holders,” he said.
Minister Mombeshora said beneficiaries had rights and title over improvements erected on their allocated land and would be compensated by Government in case of a cancellation of the permit.
“The permit encourages development and can be used as collateral when borrowing funds from banks,” he said.
Recipients of the permit are expected to construct and maintain contour ridges, build decent homes, be productive and adhere to recommended cropping and grazing practices.
“A holder of an A1 settlement permit should not lease any other agricultural land in Zimbabwe be it in A2, small-scale and commercial.
The farmer is also expected to provide clean and safe water.
Minister Mombeshora said the ministry could cancel the permit if the holder no longer wished to continue farming or he or she broke the law by subletting.
He described the land reform as a success, citing the increase in tobacco and maize production despite the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.