Farm evictions, Downsizing begins in the Midlands

Government has issued 500 eviction letters to flush out people who illegally resettled themselves on commercial farms thereby disrupting production and causing massive land degradation in the Midlands province.

Midlands Provincial Agricultural Technical and Extension Services (Agritex) officer Mrs Madeline Magwenzi said Government had given illegal settlers seven days to vacate the farms they illegally occupied.

Mrs Magwenzi added that the exercise is being carried out with the goal of bringing normalcy to farms whose production has been adversely affected by these illegal settlers who are also causing land degradation.

In Chemagora area, Gokwe South, where a farm owner was brutally murdered by angry illegal settlers at his farm after he allegedly shot dead one of them while attempting to evict them, several illegal settlers were also served with eviction notices.

Mr Dumapi Tutani who is the Chemagora Small Scale Commercial Farmers’ Union chairperson, said the move to evict the illegal settlers had brought joy and relief to farm owners who have been fighting the illegal settlers for years.

Meanwhile, Midlands Provincial Affairs Minister Larry Mavima said Government tasked the Land Commission to assess farms that exceed the recommended sizes and those that were being underutilised which will be parceled out to people in need of land.

The Midlands Provincial Lands Committee has recommended downsizing of more than 50 farms and the extra land from these farms will be allocated to those in need of land.

Mr Mavima added that the province was still grappling with illegal settlers, some of whom have settled on State land for close to 20 years.