WHITE Zimbabwean farmers fleeing President Robert Mugabe’s controversial land reform programme will this month formally take over farmland allocated to them in central Nigeria, an official said on Wednesday.
>Tajudeen Kareem, spokesperson for the state of Kwara, said that 15 Zimbabweans who visited the region earlier this year and struck property leasing deals were expected back within the next few weeks.
“We are currently doing a survey of their plots of land. We expect them back before the end of the year and once we have finished the survey, we will hand their farmland over to them,” Kareem said from Ilorin, the state capital.
The Kwara State government has allocated 1 000 hectares of farmland to each of the “pioneer farmers”, he said.
The Zimbabweans will carry out “irrigation farming and not conventional farming. This will allow them to begin their farming anytime they are ready,” he added.
In July, a spokesperson for the farmers, Alan Jack, said that they had each reached a deal with the government to take separate 25-year leases on thousand-hectare parcels of fertile land.
“We are very excited about Nigeria and about being granted a pioneer status. The people are very friendly,” he said.
“Nigeria is very good for farming, compared to Zimbabwe where land is forcefully taken from the whites and given to the blacks. I am a victim of President Mugabe’s policy,” he said.
The 15 will farm maize, rice, cassava, dairy cattle, poultry and vegetables.—AFP.