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Land reform in Africa

Kevin Anderson | 14:11 UK time, Tuesday, 25 April 2006

The Zimbabwean government has said that it is allowing any citizen to apply for land under its land reform policy.

We're going to be talking to one of the vice presidents of the Commercial Farmers Union in Zimbabwe and one farmer who left the country and emigrated to France about their reaction. We're also hoping to talk to black farmers whose land was confiscated early in the 20th century.

But this isn't just an issue in Zimbabwe, and we're hoping to hear from people across Africa about how they are dealing with the issues of equitable distribution of land.

The Zimbabwean government says that white farmers have finally come to their senses and accepted President Mugabe's land reforms.

But BBC Africa analyst Martin Plaut hard facts have driven this policy U-turn.

By confiscating the white-owned commercial farms, the government transformed a country that was once the breadbasket of Southern Africa into a net food importer.

Land reform is not just an issue in Zimbabwe. We will be talking to a representative from the Landless People's Movement in South Africa to talk about land reform in that country.

We'll also be joined by Dr Samuel Kariuki, with the University of the Witwatersrand. I just had a conversation with him about the state of play with land reform in South Africa.

The government, especially state governments, are struggling to deal with the interests of competing constituencies he said. There is a very organised and vocal commercial farmers organisation.

Some 20,000 claims have come into the government, but some 8,000 claims are still outstanding.

"What is the best avenue? That is where we are stuck," he said.

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