Interest in agriculture in Zimbabwe continues to spike; that is actually a good thing, in my opinion. Agriculture is pertinent when it comes to the Zimbabwean economy and the livelihoods of many. Zimbabwe is endowed with vast tracts of arable land. The challenge however is that most people struggle to access land. There are several working arrangements that people can enter. For instance, you can rent a piece of land; you can also lease, just to mention a few. In this article, however, I shall be focusing on applying for farms or farmland.
Overview Of Farm Types In Zimbabwe
There are 4 broad types of farms in Zimbabwe namely, large scale commercial, small scale commercial, old resettlement schemes, and communal lands. There are 5 models (Model A to E) used under the old resettlement schemes cluster; additionally, that is where the A1 and A2 farm types also fall under. Summary of the models:
Model A – a family on 5 hectares
Model B – land owned by a cooperative (B1 – cooperative-run, B2 – individual-run)
Model C and Model D – no longer in use
Model E – self-contained farms (average size of 50 hectares)
A1 – an individual family on at least 6 hectares (self-contained or otherwise) offer letters given
A2 – farm size depends on the natural region in question, offer letters and 99-year lease agreements given
Some Important Things To Know
All communal land is vested in the President which requires no registration. One’s rights to communal land are typically dual namely occupancy and using it for agricultural activities. State land, however, can be registered at the Deeds Registry – the Rural Lands Act [Chapter 20:18] covers that. In fact, the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Lands in overseeing applications for farms is drawn in part from that act. It is important to know that agricultural land is subject to quite many statutes.
Farm Sizes By Natural Region
It is important to look at this categorization because it is central to the process of applying for farms in Zimbabwe. This is because when applying you will be applying for small, medium, or large scale commercial farms. This is enshrined in the Agricultural Land Settlement Act [Chapter 20:01]. Here is the categorization:
SSCF – Small Scale Commercial Farm
MSCF – Medium Scale Commercial Farm
LSCF – Large Scale Commercial Farm
PUCF – Peri Urban Commercial Farm
The Application Process
There is an application form that one has to fill that is obtainable from the Ministry of Lands. The completed form, along with the relevant accompanying documents, is submitted to the office of the respective Provincial Chief Land Officer, Department of Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement. One of the required accompanying documents is a cash flow projection for a 5-year development programmer. You can also attach a statement or proof of training or experience in the agricultural industry – that will be an added advantage. You can also attach proof that you can command funds in form of cash or movable assets – that again will be an added advantage.
Your application will be signed by the Chief Provincial Lands Officer. It will also have to be ratified by the Land Identification Resettlement Committee. They shall convene a meeting where the application will be scrutinized and they shall recommend that the application be either be approved or rejected. The Agricultural Land Settlement Board will then recommend or not recommend. Finally the Ministry of Lands, Land Reform Resettlement will approve or not approve.
So this an overview of how to apply for farms in Zimbabwe. It is usually not quite easy to apply and get a farm in Zimbabwe. Many people actually complain about that. I have noticed that some people prefer to explore other options such as renting pieces of land from those who have it. In 2019 the government gave a green light for farm owners to sublet their farms if they want. This was done to stimulate agricultural activity since most farms have been lying idle.