The European Union and the Government of Zimbabwe, in close collaboration with UNDP, today launched a new program which will support the Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement (MLRR) in their efforts to unlock the potential of the agricultural land in the country.
The project seeks to assist the MLRR to improve the regulatory framework and management of the land, which can subsequently contribute to the revival of agriculture as a key driver for economic and social development in Zimbabwe. For this crucial intervention, the European Union provides about EUR 4.74 million; another EUR 500,000 will be contributed by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) as the implementing partner of the intervention, which will run until December 2017.
Speaking at the launch of the project, Honourable Douglas T. Mombeshora, the Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement, said: “This project is capacitating the Ministry to carry out its mandate of land administration. When you look at the expected outputs for the project; that is, updated database, compensation mechanism, survey control network and survey of A2 farms, dispute resolution and capacitating the Zimbabwe Land Commission; you will note that they are in line with Ministry objectives of providing security of tenure and ensuring improved livelihoods of all Zimbabweans through equitable and fair land distribution.”
He added: “As the Ministry, we are pleased with progress made to date. Equipment such as vehicles, computers and GPS have been availed, our staff trained and field work being undertaken. We are grateful to EU and UNDP for this support and look forward to fruitful future partnerships.”
Philippe Van Damme, EU Ambassador to Zimbabwe, said at the launch: ” This project has the potential to help Zimbabwe to return to what it once was: the bread basket of Africa. In order to unlock the potential of the agriculture land, close attention needs to be paid to the implementation of the land reform as a key factor to ensure a more prosperous and productive agriculture sector”. In this regard, the EU Ambassador also strongly encourages the Government to address some of the outstanding issues such as compensation of acquired land and the drafting of the new land Commission Bill, through an inclusive and participatory process”.
“UNDP is convinced of the ripple effect of the project to other sectors of the economy, as the land sector has a huge potential to contribute to national Gross Domestic Product, poverty eradication and sustainable development in the country”, explained the UNDP Resident Representative Bishow Parajuli.
The project contents have been identified jointly by the three main partners in consultation with the other stakeholders. The project will address critical areas such as the outstanding issues on valuation and compensation, conflict resolution, base mapping and surveying of the resettled areas. In addition, the project foresees support to the functioning of the future Zimbabwe Land Commission, ensure that the Land Information system within the Ministry is strengthened, effectively managed and coordinated and also plan to carry out a review of the Land Tenure Policy, a milestone to guarantee security of tenure for the different land categories.
The Ministry for Lands and Rural Resettlement, the European Union and UNDP consider the project a major milestone that demonstrates the fruitful partnership between Government, development agencies and donors in a comprehensive and sustainable manner.