Zimbabwe will issue 99-year leases to white farmers, according to a government circular, after new President Emmerson Mnangagwa said he would end discrimination along racial lines in agriculture.
Fewer than 400 white farmers are still operating in the southern African nation, after former president Robert Mugabe’s government evicted over 4000 under an often violent land reform programme.
Those who remained were issued with five-year renewable leases by the State compared to 99-year leases for black farmers, leaving their land vulnerable to expropriation by the government.
The agriculture ministry circular to staff says white farmers should now be issued the same 99-year leases as black farmers.
Land ownership is one of Zimbabwe’s most sensitive issues. Colonialists seized some of the best agricultural land and much of it remained in the hands of white farmers after independence in 1980. Reuters