[DEBATE] : MDC Lands and Agrarian Reform Policy, and Agricultural Recovery Strategy, for Zimbabwe
dominic.tweedie at gmail.com
Sun Aug 10 21:58:39 BST 2008
>From Ready to Govern to Preparing to Govern
Nqobizitha Mlilo, George Sibotshiwe, Nelson Chamisa, 8 August 2008
The Movement for Democratic Change is and remains a people's project,
with the strategic objective of completing the business of the
struggle for national liberation. Over the next few days, we will
provide the various policy position of the party, indicative of our
readiness and preparedness to govern in accordance with the best
interests of the majority of our people. Our struggle is not merely a
struggle against, but it is most importantly a struggle for an ideal.
With this alert, we provide our policy position on the Land Question
in Zimbabwe and also provide how we will attend to the issue.
In this alert, please find our Lands and Agrarian Reform Policy, and
our Agricultural Recovery Strategy.
LANDS AND AGRARIAN REFORM POLICY
Resolving the land question once and for all to ensure that no
Zimbabwean will ever go hungry again
A New Zimbabwe where the land conflict is resolved once and for all
and land as a finite economic development resource, is equitably
distributed and productively utilized making Zimbabwe the regional
bread-basket in land use and agricultural production.
Values for MDC Land Reform Policy
The MDC's core values on land reform are:
1. Food security and job creation.
2. Equity and equality
8. Sustainability and productive land use
The MDC Land Policy
The MDC's Land Reform Programme will be based on the matrix that
recognizes the country's unfortunate colonial history of plunder and
wastage and the need to deal with historical injustices. In this
regard, the MDC takes note of the acquisitions of land that have been
done by the Zanu PF regime between 2000 and 2006. That land reform was
chaotic and outside the rule of law.
That being the case, the MDC must rationalize the situation by
ensuring that there will be no return to the pre-2000 status nor will
the present regime of wastage, corruption, under utilization and
multi-ownership be preserved.
To undertake this rationalization, the MDC will through an Act of
Parliament establish a Land Commission whose mandate is to:
• Carry out an independent audit of land to establish the physical and
legal status of all holdings.
• Based on the principle of allocating land to all Zimbabweans
irregardless of one's political affiliation, gender and/or race;
one-man-one farm; need and ability, implement and coordinate a
rational and participatory all inclusive and well planned resettlement
• Design and define the recommended minimum and maximum land holdings
• Ensure the enactment of laws that guarantee the ownership of one
household per one land holding.
• Introduce an equitable Land Tax to discourage land wastage and
multiple farm ownership
• Carefully manage the transition to a people driven and human centred
The MDC recognizes the fact that the acquisition of land is not an end
in itself and therefore recognizes that the ultimate economic
liberation of Zimbabwe will only occur after the destruction of the
dual enclave economy and the transition of our country into a modern
Thus fundamental to our land policy is the need to free the country
from direct reliance on land and agriculture but an industry and
technology and software. In short, the complete transformation of our
country to a New Zimbabwe.
While Land Reform is regarded as a programme for the transfer of
control, ownership and tenure of agricultural land, agrarian reform
necessarily has much broader scope, seeking to restructure the entire
agricultural sector and industrialize the rural areas to make them
productive and wealth generating.
• The MDC will embark on a rapid agricultural recovery programme that
will ensure the restocking of the national herd.
• The MDC government will have a deliberate policy to support communal
and small-scale farmers and women to become productive members of the
farming community and to ensure food security
The MDC Government will:
• Expand and upgrade all agricultural training institutions in the country.
• Encourage and support the role of women and youth in agriculture
The MDC government recognizes that there should be just and equitable
compensation to all farmers whose land was acquired since the year
2000. However, the Zimbabwean economy does not have the capacity to
offer the just and equitable compensation while at the same time
driving the economy forward.
In this regard, the MDC government will internationalize the issue of
compensation so that multilateral institutions and bilateral countries
inextricably connected to the Zimbabwe crisis will bring in their
resources to adequately compensate the erstwhile land owners. It is
important to note that the international community has previously made
binding understandings as far as such support is concerned.
Zimbabwe has a varied tenure system covering four main areas: -
• Small scale commercial farming areas
• Large scale commercial farming areas
The MDC recognizes this reality on the ground and therefore takes land
tenure reform as a continuous and ongoing process not as a once off
activity. The MDC Land Commission will investigate the situation in
respect of farmland, communal lands, forestry, and all commercial land
holdings and recommend a reform process in all areas of the country
including land tenure systems. However land under the MDC government
will be held under one law for all forms of ownership, state, communal
and private with some government protection for communal farmers. The
MDC will ensure that there is comprehensive land legislation in place
that allows both for private ownership of land secured through title
Agricultural Recovery Programme
The MDC has developed an Agricultural Recovery Program to ensure a
rapid recovery of the agricultural sector as in as short a period as
possible. Key elements of the program are: -
• Identification of the areas with good agricultural productivity,
focusing mainly in the communal, the resettlement areas and
small-scale commercial farmers. This will be for the production of
both maize and small grains.
• Plan for the provision of inputs such as seed, fertilizers, and
draught power to the identified farmers.
• A comprehensive strategy to re-establish all veterinary controls and
systems for animal health. This is essential to facilitate the
resumption of exports on a secure basis.
• Facilitation of private sector partnerships for the production of
all key agricultural commodities. For successful implementation of the
Agricultural Recovery Programme, MDC recognizes that consultation with
and active participation by the various stakeholders will be crucial.
The stakeholders include but are not limited to farmer's
organizations, input suppliers, seed growers, NGOs, agricultural
experts, traders, financial institutions, millers and other agro
Realizing that a sophisticated agricultural industry is achieved only
by a supportive institutional infrastructure, the MDC government will
invest resources to rehabilitate and reform public marketing agencies,
research and teaching institutions and public agro-based financing
The MDC government will maintain the Agricultural Research Council as
an independent, non-political body. The Council will advise government
on all aspects relating to agricultural research (new breeds, seed
varieties, GMOs etc, will recommend the provision of grants for
research by central government, and will also solicit grants from
agriculture associations and development partners. Government grants
would be tied to agricultural research to benefit the small-scale
resettled farmers who may not be able to afford research output of
All agricultural training institutions will be placed under
independent councils selected from the agriculture industry. These
institutions will be expanded in order to ensure that there are
adequate numbers of trained personnel to take the many opportunities
to be created in the farming sector by the land and agriculture
programmes. Government will support agricultural training through the
same facilities that are available to students at universities and
colleges. These activities will be the responsibility of the Ministry
The MDC government will provide basic extension services to all
farming communities through a system of extension agents who will work
with local farm communities and research establishments. Particular
regard will be paid to extension services in small-scale resettlement
and communal farming areas. Private sector firms with interests in the
agriculture industry will be encouraged to support extension services
to commercial farmers.
The Grain Marketing Board will remain a part of central government but
will be required to operate on commercial principles and will no
longer hold a statutory monopoly over grain and oilseed marketing.
However, the GMB will be required to maintain a network of depots
throughout the country and to act as residual buyer of food grains and
oil seeds. It will also be required to maintain strategic stocks of
basic foods and to provide storage facilities to the private sector.
Local, regional and international commodity trading plays a crucial
role in triggering socio-economic development and wealth creation in
Zimbabwe. The MDC government will play a non-interventionist,
regulatory role in ensuring a competitive pricing environment that
creates conditions conducive to investment in the sector, putting in
place, however, mechanisms that will protect vulnerable groups.
AGRICULTURAL RECOVERY, ZIMBABWE 2008-2013
Guidelines for the Recovery Strategy, Introduction
Agriculture is the backbone of the economy of Zimbabwe. Exports of
tobacco, beef, cotton, horticulture and sugar have always provided the
much need foreign currency that supported the rapid economic growth in
the first 15 years of independence. The industry food and textile
relied heavily on agriculture for inputs. Further, agriculture relied
on a well managed and effective agricultural input program that was
based on a self sustaining retail system enabling most farmers to
access inputs on time.
Zimbabwe's agriculture would need a two fold strategic plan that could
stabilize the agricultural sector in the first year (2008/09) and
subsequent 5 years (2009-2013).
I. Review of the current general state of agriculture in Zimbabwe,
crop, livestock and horticultural production in both rural and
1. Review the current input delivery system to both rural and
resettled farmers in former commercial farmland. The input delivery
system is currently dominated by government.
2. Review the current commodity marketing systems especially the role
of government and the Grain Marketing Board and impact on productivity
of the sector.
3. Review the state of agricultural research and extension. These were
key to technology generation and dissemination that supported growth
and development of the sector.
4. Review the current rural retail network for sustainable
distribution of inputs to farm communities
5. Review the state of agricultural infrastructure such as irrigation
and tobacco processing units and horticultural greenhouses
6. Identify solutions and make recommendations for adoption and
implementation by the new government
Two parallel strategies would need to be implemented, a) short and, b)
medium to long term for agricultural recovery.
II. a. The short term strategy would be for the 2008/09 season. The
current season (2007/08) failed due lack of inputs and drought. This
creates a need for immediate revival of production and stabilization
of the sector in the 2008/09 cropping season.
The objective is to ensure that farmers have access to inputs of
required quantities and quality at the correct timing. The main
objectives are however as follows:
1. Liaise with input suppliers and establish their capacities to
produce and supply adequate quantities of seeds and agrochemicals
2. Review and identify key input retail networks that increase access
farmers' access to inputs.
3. Review and identify effective distribution networks that will
deliver inputs to retail networks by mid to end September 2008.
4. Develop an input marketing and distribution monitoring system to
ensure inputs do not find their way to the informal markets.
5. Develop a subsidized input pricing system that enables every farmer
to access inputs through the retail system. No free inputs. Farmers
could pay a subsidized price supported by donor. 20% of the current
donor food aid could provide such subsidy.
6. Institute a land preparation support scheme to ensure that land is
adequately prepared in time for the farming season.
7. Identify and support areas for irrigation schemes to ensure
agricultural productivity all year.
8. Identify and recommend collaboration between NGOs and the extension
service to provide immediate support to farmers in the immediate
9. Develop immediate modalities for support of horticultural and
10. Recommend a commodity pricing system that is consistent with world markets.
II. b. Medium to long term, (5 year strategic plan) that also looks at
land reform and support for the agricultural input industry.
The objective is to ensure sustainability of productivity in the next
5 years. The main objectives are:
1. Review the current land reform and its long term impact of
agricultural productivity and social security.
2. Review and recommend a need for a land commission that will over
see the land rationalization of land ownership in Zimbabwe
3. Develop and recommend guidelines to a sustainable land tenure
system that is acceptable to all Zimbabweans to do away with current
dual production system of rural and commercial farming.
4. Develop and recommend a system of input subsidy that is phased out
over a period of 5 years.
5. Develop and recommend systems and ways to increase farm
productivity in rural areas.
6. Review the current capacity of inputs suppliers, seed producers,
fertilizer manufacturers and wholesale and retailers in providing a
permanent and sustainable supply of such inputs.
7. Recommend measures of support to inputs industry to increase capacity
For more information please call MDC on (South Africa) Nqobizitha
Mlilo 0835274650 or George Sibotshiwe 0766330314 or (Zimbabwe) Nelson
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