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Zimbabwe : The Battle for Land
The Situation Today
The Situation Today

Since March 2000, groups of government supporters led by war veterans have occupied many white-owned farms. In the ensuing violence, several white farmers and their black workers have been killed.

Agricultural production has plummeted. Donors say this is one reason why up to six million people could face starvation unless food aid arrives quickly.

Almost all of Zimbabwe’s 4,000 white farmers have had their farms listed for acquisition. Under a new law, they must leave their land and homes before receiving compensation. Courts have ruled several times that the bureaucratic process of acquiring land has been breached but the government is determined to press ahead.

About 500 white farmers have decided not to lodge legal appeals and some of these have been paid by the state – albeit in devalued Zimbabwe dollars. Lists of those who will be allocated land have been widely publicised in the state media – but many have not taken up the offer.

Many rural Zimbabweans desperately want more land but they also need aid to buy seeds and fertiliser, which the state does not have the money to provide. Some farms have been allocated to ministers and senior officials in the ruling Zanu-PF party and the army. In urban areas, most people want jobs, rather than land.

Land Facts
Total population: 12.5m
White population: 70,000 (about 0.6%)
Whites own majority of the best farming land
1m blacks owned 16m hectares - often in drought-prone regions (2000)
4,000 whites owned 11m hectares of prime land (2000)

'There's no future' Alex Van Leenhoff, farmer
AUDIO/VIDEO real 28k
'We are the rightful owners of the land' Agrippa Gava, war vet
AUDIO/VIDEO real 28k
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