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Zimbabwe Completes Extensive Land Audit
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Zimbabwe Completes Extensive Land Audit


The Zimbabwean government has recently concluded a sweeping nationwide land audit, examining over 254,000 farms across the country. The extensive assessment aims to tackle issues of multiple ownership and ensure the security of tenure for resettled farmers. 


Dubbed the Land Information Management System (LIMS), the program saw teams of surveyors systematically gather data on farms over a 5-year period. Spearheaded by the Zimbabwe Land Commission, the scope covered land allocation patterns, production levels, business models, tenure rights and more. The overarching goals are to optimise productivity and empower resettlement farmers.


On November 22nd, Commission Chair Tendai Bare officially handed the LIMS results to President Mnangagwa at the State House. She highlighted that despite some lingering double allocations, many farmers already enjoy strong tenure security. Offer letters provide adequate legal occupation, use and transfer rights - with title deeds to follow pending issues like survey backlogs.  


"The rights that they do not enjoy according to the Constitution is disposal and acquisition as agricultural land is vested in the State," Bare clarified. But broadly speaking, hundreds of thousands of resettled farmers have been firmly entrenched on formerly white-owned lands.


LIMS provides granular, farm-level data to inform policies that can unlock finance and bolster support going forward. Bare explained the database covers details ranging from production levels, skills gaps, business models in use, and even where farmers acquire their farming information. 


The over 50,000 women beneficiaries make up 20.8% of land owners included in the audit. 5.6% are youths, while the majority of ordinary farmers hail from communal areas. Ensuring these groups fully enjoy their Constitutional land rights will be a priority application of the LIMS data.  


Bare contends that most farmers primarily want to secure financing - from lenders like the Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) - to invest in their land and ramp up productivity. LIMS provides the tenant security assurance that banks need to start lending more to this previously marginalised demographic.  


Over 60% of the audited lands were acquired by smallholder farmers straight from Zimbabwe's communal areas. They now have an avenue to access credit and optimally utilise their farms to contribute to national food security and economic growth.  


The extensive audit relied on deploying and training teams of surveyors countrywide over the past 5 years. It cost government coffers around $25 billion Zimbabwe local currency  to complete the herculean task. The hundreds of thousands of data points gathered provide incredibly rich insights for policymakers and agencies like the Lands Ministry.  


Bare summarised that LIMS presents deep statistical insights around optimal farming activities per area, detailed land utilisation analysis, and monitoring of Constitutional land rights. It tackles multiple ownerships and establishes each farm's status before any new allocations. 


Going forward President Mnangagwa can apply LIMS to formulate evidence-based policies that reinforce tenure security, incentivise agricultural investment, and ensure equitable access to land across Zimbabwe. The end goal is empowering a new generation of farmers to usher in an era of profitable, sustainable agricultural production.