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White Farmers in Zimbabwe Offer Plan to Redistribute Land

January 24, 1998|Associated Press

HARARE, Zimbabwe — Hoping to sink a government plan to confiscate their properties, white farmers have proposed an alternative way to hand over land to blacks.

The program envisages farmers willingly selling land, including parts of the farms they occupy, to the state. Some of the land then would go to blacks trained to run large commercial farms, and all peasants who acquire land would receive advice on how to keep the land productive.

"This is the Team Zimbabwe approach," David Hasluck of the Commercial Farmers Union, the main white farming group, said Friday. "We are trying to establish a positive thrust and conserve production while conceding absolutely that there's a need for land redistribution."

Hasluck said that government ministers were given the proposal Thursday and that they appeared "enthusiastic."

If President Robert Mugabe's government accepts the proposal and drops its plans to seize 1,480 farms, most of them white-owned, it would be a major reversal. Just this week, Mugabe insisted that the land seizures would proceed.

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