Zimbabwe white farmers say invited to take up land


Oct 13, 1999

ARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's white farmers said on Friday they had been invited to apply for land, a move that could mark a major policy shift by the government which had vowed not to return farms seized from whites.

Since 2000, President Robert Mugabe's government has taken over thousands of white-owned commercial farms after backing often-violent invasions led by veterans of the country's 1970s struggle against white rule.

Critics say the programme has destroyed the key agriculture sector and contributed to food shortages which have hit the country, once a regional bread basket.

On Friday the mainly-white Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) said it had been invited to submit applications to run farms under Zimbabwe's new policy of granting 99-year leases.

It said it had already sent more than 200 applications to the government on behalf of dispossessed farmers and that more were still coming in.

"We have held meetings with the relevant government ministries and there is an understanding that our members want to play a significant role in agriculture production, food security and generation of foreign currency for the country," Trevor Gifford, CFU vice-president told Reuters.

Maybe this country can go back to feeding to feeding itself again. Running the farmers off only sent this country into stravation.