Zimbabwe Plans to Control Crop-Production Contracts, Levy Rents

Zimbabwe said black farmers settled on land seized from its former white owners will have to get government approval for contracts to produce crops.

Farmers will also have to pay rent to the government for the land they’ve been allocated, Rural Resettlement Minister Douglas Mombeshora said today in a telephone interview from the country’s capital, Harare. The money raised will finance a national land audit next year, said Mombeshora, who denied reports that the government would allow former white farmers to lease land from its new occupants.

“There’s been no u-turn at all,” he said. “We don’t want to see the former farmers on the ground.”

Mombeshora said the move to control contract farming was intended to prevent crops being sold to third parties, a practise known as “side-marketing.” Farmers in Zimbabwe have traditionally grown crops like barley and seed corn under contract for companies such as brewer, Delta Corp Ltd., and seed merchant, Seedco Ltd., while tobacco traders have also adopted the practise in the past decade.

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