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Land policy key to agric investment
February 22, 2013 in Business
Government must restore the financial value of agricultural land by
developing a robust market for agricultural land which will release a
mortgage market, triggering a natural capital gain in the value of all
land-based investments, the Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe (CFU) has
Report by Fidelity Mhlanga
In a working paper, the CFU said in line with recent growth trends in
surrounding African countries, it was crucial for government to engender an
attractive investment climate for international and local investors to
finance the agricultural sector.
The CFU said the current policy framework adopted in the wake of the
agrarian reform programme was militating against agricultural sector
viability, exposing all farmers to a myriad of problems ranging from poor
access to affordable finance and isolation from international financial
markets, with virtually no access to collateral value.
In addition, the loss of farm investment security and transferability of
title have resulted in fewer wealth creation opportunities, poor technology
and less access to commodity markets.
“It is imperative to establish a credible and well financed Land Bank to
fund agricultural sector working capital requirements at affordable interest
rates. This will establish confidence and incentives on the part of both
financiers and farmers for long term developments and capital expenditures,”
In his speech marking the opening of the 2013 Tobacco marketing season,
Youth Empowerment and Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere said banks
were channelling peanuts towards agriculture as financial assistance to
farmers has dwindled from 74% to 17%, forcing them to use meagre resources
to finance expensive inputs.
The Zimbabwean banking sector remains largely crippled by lack of liquidity
and a legal framework in the agricultural sector which hampers the use of
land and agricultural developments as collateral security for loans or
equity as investment in agriculture is regarded as high risk.
This is because farmers do not have established track records with lending
institutions and a credible credit bureau is not in place, said the CFU.
“For farmers this means that the cost of capital is extremely high, making
the production of agricultural commodities in Zimbabwe uncompetitive. This
proposal seeks to trigger the potential of local lending institutions by
creating an enabling environment for them to lend confidently into the
agricultural sector at competitive interest rates,” CFU added.
The establishment of a land market will inevitably lead to cross sectoral
recovery and boost revenue inflows to the government of Zimbabwe.
“Greater production in the economy means more jobs and in turn less social
dependency and more taxes. The Government of Zimbabwe will in time be in a
position to pay for redemption on the bonds and pay interest on them,” the