The Situation of Commercial Farm Workers after Land Reform in Zimbabwe

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Yet these settlements are now a sanctuary to hundreds, in some cases thousands, of farm worker households. One advantage is that they and their occupants are easily accessible. With their concentrated population, provision of services and infrastructure should be cost-effective. But it will require basic planning by local authorities and consultation with the inhabitants. More immediately, there is a need to ensure food supplies to the settlements, and provide schooling and health facilities. Where there is a reasonable amount of land near the settlement, government should consider allocating it to former farm workers who want to turn it to productive use. In the longer term, informal settlements can be turned into growth points and service centres offering opportunities for light and informal industry, and markets for local goods and services. They will need to be upgraded and provided with basic services, such as shops, banks and post offices. Issues of tenure security (land and housing rights) will need to be negotiated with both central government and local authorities.

Major players in the provision of resources, services and planning would be: government, local authorities, local and international NGOs, churches and donors, and settlement community-based associations.

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