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Last Updated: Thursday, 16 November 2006, 10:59 GMT
Zimbabwe offers farm compensation
White farmer in Zimbabwe
Thousands of white farmers had their properties seized
More than 1,000 white farmers have been told to collect compensation for property seized during Zimbabwe's controversial land-reform programme.

The country's land ministry said dispossessed white farmers should contact the government urgently.

The invitation for compensation was carried in a four-page notice in the government-run Herald newspaper.

Zimbabwe's land reforms saw thousands of white-owned farms seized and redistributed to landless blacks.

Soaring inflation

Secretary of lands Ngoni Masoka urged former farm owners or representatives to "contact the Ministry of Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement as a matter of urgency in connection with their compensation".

President Robert Mugabe launched Zimbabwe's controversial land-reform programme seven years ago, with the aim of readdressing economic imbalances left over from the country's years of British colonial rule.

But critics say the often violent campaign has devastated Zimbabwe's agriculture-based economy, leading to massive food shortages.

Zimbabwe's inflation topped 1,200% recently, compounding the hardship many Zimbabweans experience.

Although it is estimated that 500 white farmers still remain in Zimbabwe, many have fled to neighbouring countries including Zambia and Mozambique.

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