The Government has announced new guidelines for A2 land permit holders which must be followed to avoid repossession of the farms.
These include the need for the permit holder to settle on the land within 30 days and to have a full-time farm manager on-site within three months.
This was revealed by the acting lands development acting director in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement Cephas Magauze.
He was addressing senior lands officers from across the country attending a workshop on land management and distribution in Gweru on Monday. He said:
There are conditions attached to the land permit. The permit holder must take up permanent residence within 30 days, the permit holder must appoint a manager to take up permanent residence in three months.
The permit holder must undertake to initiate development in accordance with the five-year development plan.
So, there are rules of engagement of which if they are breached, the farm will be forfeited by the State.
He said the permit holder shall not sublet or subdivide part of the land without written consent from the lands minister.
In case there is room for a joint venture, the permit holder must also seek consent from the Minister. Said Magaudze:
Converting agricultural land to residential stands or other business should be done with permission from the Minister.
Poaching of wild animals is prohibited because farming is not hunting and hunting is not farming.
The natural resources on that land be it trees must be protected and no wanton cutting down of trees will be permitted.
The Minister can cancel the permit if any of the conditions are breached by the permit holder.
Magaudze said if the permit holder fails to produce anything in two successive agriculture seasons, the permit will be cancelled. He said:
So, there is no room for holding on the land for speculative purposes or showboating. It is tantamount to failing to utilise the land and this leads to cancellation of the permit.
Magaudze also said a new permit with improved security features is now being issued to farmers to further curtail illegal land allocations. He said:
We have introduced new securitised land permits for the A2 model settlement permit. It now has security features so that there is no room for manipulation of the permit.
There is a fidelity seal and serial number with special reflective ink, security feature embedded on the permit, underground micro text at the back, the Minister has to sign the permit and there is also a long serial number and a hologram seal.
The more securitised land offer permit is an effort to flush out corruption in the land redistribution programme which is reversing the gains of the land reform program.