By Sifiso Sibanda
As the country inches towards the 40th independence celebrations, the land reform programme has been touted as the most empowerment initiative by the government since 1980.
Never in the history of this country has the government gone all out to empower it’s people in the manner it did with the land reform programme which benefitted hundreds of thousands of people.
The land reform programme aimed at redressing the colonial imbalance that saw a few white commercial farmers clinging on the country’s prime agricultural land, while black farmers were confined to communal areas.
As a result, the government had to decongest communal areas and avail fertile land for black Zimbabweans to till.
Proud farmers from Highway Ranch and Dry Hoek Farm in Gwanda say they will forever be grateful to the government for the land they got.
“Through the land reform programme, we are better off now because our animals have better pastures while the crop yield is far better during normal rainfall seasons. Land is an empowerment resource and those of us who have it are great full and feel empowered. No government has done what Zimbabwe has done and this must be commended because it fulfilled the promises of the liberation struggle,” said beneficiaries.
While many a time the beneficiaries have been criticised for failing to produce to expectations, the adoption of precision agriculture through drip irrigation technology at Copper Royal Estate demonstrates black commercial farmers’ capacity to produce high yields.
“Here we do drip irrigation and we farm all year round and our product is feeding the nation and we continue to expand thanks to the land reform programme.”
The country is proud of the land reform programme and this year’s independence celebrations come at a time local farmers are consolidating their operations, amid affirmation that the land reform programme is irreversible.
However, the government has been punished for empowering its people with punitive sanctions imposed on the country by Britain and its Western allies.
Land Reform the most empowering initiative
By Sifiso Sibanda