The Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union 77th Annual congress running under the theme “Tenure Security for Sustainable Agricultural Transformation” will be held from the 5th to the 7th of September 2017 in Marondera.
Land tenure security is an area of concern as it has a bearing on ZFU members and Zimbabwean farmers in general.
Most of the resettled farmers have no security of tenure and those issued with 99-year leases do not have confidence in them.
The government 99-year lease is not transferrable and can be reviewed at the pleasure of the authorities, if they a feel that the land is not being productive.
The value of land is therefore locked and farmers are failing to access finances from banks due to the lack of “collateral security”.
A Freehold tenure system which gives a farmer ownership of the land will give banks and other finance institutions confidence to loan out funds to farmers.
This sense of insecurity discourages farmers to invest and develop their farms.
“Under developed farms, limited investment and limited capital formation in the communal and resettlement areas result in slow agricultural transformation, limited growth and development in the sector,” said ZFU Chief Economist Mr Kuipa.
“The 77th Annual Congress will bring together farmers and policy makers to deliberate on whether the challenges being faced in the sector can be explained within the context of tenure security in order to map the way forward.
“During the congress, we will look at whether the challenges faced by farmers, including low productivity, low competitiveness, limited access to inputs, output and financial markets, high post-harvest losses, inadequate investment in technology and on farm infrastructure, low returns, environmental degradation and vulnerability to climate change, are centred on tenure insecurity issues” said Mr Kuipa.
The ZFU Congress is an annual event in the Union’s calendar which the organisation is compelled to hold by its constitution.
ZFU management board, national councillors, representatives from the commodity associations, women and youth wing are drawn from all the provinces of the country to deliberate on issues affecting the agricultural sector.