31 July 1998
Donors insist on compensation
for Zimbabwe farmers

INTERNATIONAL donors will not fund Zimbabwes land reforms unless farmers who lose their land under the Governments controversial redistribution scheme are adequately compensated, donor officials have said.

The Zimbabwe Government has called a conference to try and raise financial support for its land redistribution scheme, costing about Z$40 billion ($1.27bn). But western donors invited to the conference say the Government is unclear how it will handle payments.

President Mugabe announced last year plans to acquire 1,500 mainly white-owned farms and hand them to blacks, paying only for buildings and improvements. The acquisitions were based on the claim that the whites – who occupy 70% of the countrys most fertile land – “stole” the land earlier this century.

Zimbabwe whites and international donors say they support the idea of redistribution, but they would prefer it to proceed on a willing seller/willing buyer basis. Britain is among the international donors.

  • Financial Times 31/07/98 page 4 (News Digest)