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Zimbabwe’s $53m compensation for white farmers questioned

Around 4,000 white farmers lost land in the reform programme launched 18 years ago, and are said to be owed up to $9 billion.

Picture: Supplied.

HARARE - A top farming official in Zimbabwe says the government’s allocation of $53 million to compensate white farmers won’t be enough to solve the outstanding problem of compensation.

Around 4,000 white farmers lost land in the reform programme launched 18 years ago, and are said to be owed up to $9 billion.

Commercial Farmers Union Director Ben Purcell-Gilpin says the $53 million cannot solve the compensation issue.

But he says it does show the government hasn’t forgotten about the need to repay those who lost their farms over the past 18 years.

He said some of the farmers are in desperate financial straits.

Purcell-Gilpin says it’s possible that most of the $53 million allocated under Thursday’s budget would go to compensate foreign landowners, who were protected by BIPPA trade agreements – though there’s no confirmation of that.

Around 40 Dutch farmers under such agreements have been trying for years to get around $25 million from the government.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)