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Zambia Offers Free Farmland

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  • Dan Clore
    News for Anarchists & Activists: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo Zambia offers free farm land 03/02/2003 16:55 - (SA) by Shapi Shacinda Lusaka - Zambia
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 6, 2003
      News for Anarchists & Activists:
      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo

      Zambia offers free farm land
      03/02/2003 16:55 - (SA)
      by Shapi Shacinda

      Lusaka - Zambia will offer thousands of hectares of free
      farmland in a bid to end persistent food shortages and
      encourage agricultural exports, finance ministry officials
      said on Monday.

      A pilot project would start soon by offering 90 000 hectares
      of farmland in Serenje, central Zambia, and 100 000 hectares
      in Kaoma, southern Zambian, said Deputy Finance Minister
      Patrick Kalifungwa.

      Agriculture ministry officials said Zambia was looking to
      initially parcel out 1 000ha plots to commercial farmers
      with capital to start work immediately - growing maize, as
      well as fresh vegetables, fruit, flowers, coffee and
      tobacco.

      Only 2.7 million hectares of Zambia's 18.2 million hectares
      arable land is utilised.

      With five rivers and a high water table, Zambia is a prime
      target for irrigation farming and the government is
      embarrassed that its people starve despite the huge farming
      potential.

      Kalifungwa said it was envisaged that any commercial farmers
      who could support more than 1 000ha of land could get it as
      the country moved to diversify its economy away from copper
      and cobalt mining.

      White farmers

      "If an investor wants 10 000ha and can show that they have
      the capacity to till it, we shall give it to them. The idea
      is to ensure that we start putting all our land to proper
      use," said Kalifungwa.

      In his budget on Friday, Finance Minister Emmanuel Kasonde
      set aside $2.9m for electricity and roads in Kaoma and
      Serenje districts.

      Agricultural ministry officials said the government had
      targeted some of Zimbabwe's white farmers, whose land was
      seized for blacks by President Robert Mugabe.

      More than 130 Zimbabwean white farmers have bought parcels
      of land in Zambia and they will be eligible to gain free
      land under the new programme.

      "White farmers have shown their commitment to land in
      Zimbabwe and we feel that Zambia could gain from their
      professionalism," said a senior government official.

      A vast majority of Zambia's 11 million population are urban
      dwellers who shy away from tilling land. The lack of a
      farming tradition is partly blamed for food shortages in
      Zambia.

      Some 14.4 million people in six southern African countries -
      Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, Lesotho and Swaziland
      - face critical food shortages because of a combination of
      drought and poor farm management.

      --
      Dan Clore

      Now available: _The Unspeakable and Others_
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