By Godfrey Marawanyika and Brian Latham
ZIMBABWE’S cabinet approved a proposed law to offer farmers 99-year leases and allow them to borrow from banks to purchase vital agricultural inputs, Lands and Rural Resettlement Minister Douglas Mombeshora said.
The measure has been backed by the Bankers’ Association of Zimbabwe and shown to the World Bank, Mombeshora told reporters on Friday in Bulawayo.
Bankers reached a formal agreement with the government “over the bank-ability” of the 99-year leases, bankers’ association chief executive officer Sij Biyam said Friday by phone. The leases would apply to medium- and large-scale farmers who haven’t been able to secure loans to purchase inputs like seed and fertilizer, limiting their ability to produce.
The World Bank and International Monetary Fund previously urged Zimbabwe to resolve its land-tenure issues after President Robert Mugabe’s ruling party supported the often violent seizure of most white-owned farms in 2000. Parliament must still approve the proposal before it becomes law. –Bloomberg