One of the biggest problems facing the new Zimbabwe government is the unequal distribution of land between black and white -- and Prime Minister Robert Mugabe has now promised to speed up the transfer of white land to peasant farmers.
GV ZOOM INTO CU INTERIOR Zimbabwe Prime Minister Robert Mugabe speaking in English in Mount Pleasant Hall in Salisbury.
CU Zimbabwe National Farmers' Union members listening, as Prime Minister Mugabe continues speaking.
CU Prime Minister Mugabe speaking.
MUGABE: "Government will certainly be acting irresponsibly if, in the light of an acute shortage of land, to allow inefficient farmers to continue to remain in possession of land which they can not use and which could be put to good use by those who need it most. The placing at the disposal of farmers of all races of financial and technical resources, which they can take advantage of to improve their efficiency and productivity, while at the same time offering them a number of incentives, is clear recognition by government of the need to promote the interest of the individual farmer, so he can in turn serve the national interest. Power is now in you hands and mine, and together we should proceed to translate it into our economic power. You have suffered to achieve this power, I know the support which some of you gave in the struggle, I know some of you died in the process, some had their properties destroyed -- may I thank you for that contribution."
In August 2,000 peasant farmers near Victoria challenged the Zimbabwe government's plans for settling peasant farmers in communal projects. They opposed the proposed limit of ten head of cattle per family, partly because a big herd traditionally gives social status. They also wanted each family on a collective farm to be allotted more than the proposed limit of five hectares (12 acres).
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Background: One of the biggest problems facing the new Zimbabwe government is the unequal distribution of land between black and white -- and Prime Minister Robert Mugabe has now promised to speed up the transfer of white land to peasant farmers. Agriculture provides the backbone of Zimbabwe's economy. Recently Mr. Mugabe told a gathering of farmers that "the lives of seven and a half million people -- and the future of the nation -- are in the hands of white farmers". The government is confident it can acquire enough white farming land for its land distribution programme, without displacing productive white farmers. And, at a meeting of the Zimbabwe National Farmers' Union in Salisbury on Thursday (25 September), he made it clear that land belonging to unproductive farmers would be handed over to those most in need.