Zimbabwe redistributes land abandoned by black farmers

Zimbabwe has begun redistributing unused land that was given to black farmers during President Mugabe’s bloody land reforms of the early 2000s, Agriculture Minister Anxious Masuka said Wednesday.
“Those who own several farms, or those whose farms have been abandoned, will face expropriation,” he announced. “The land released will be redistributed to novice farmers, who are on a waiting list established since the last reforms,” he added.
“Zimbabwe does not have unlimited arable land,” he argued. “99% of the land is already occupied, and the land we are distributing to farmers on the waiting list is being taken from blacks, to be redistributed to blacks. In 2000, former President Robert Mugabe forcibly expropriated the country’s white farmers in order to redistribute their land to black farmers. This decision was intended to redress inequalities resulting from British colonization, but in fact, those close to the government benefited greatly from this redistribution.
The new owners, poorly trained and ill-equipped, left large tracts of arable land uncultivated and the country is now suffering from chronic food shortages. After the fall of Robert Mugabe in 2017, his successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa, adopted a reformist stance and promised to heal the wounds of the land reforms and even to compensate expropriated farmers. Some white farmers have already been allowed to reclaim land through local partnerships, Musaka said.
According to the Famine Early Warning Network, about 10 million Zimbabweans, or two-thirds of the population, are at risk of hunger after a disappointing rainy season. Zimbabwe relies heavily on donors for its food supplies.