The Matebeleland Agricultural Business Chamber has written to the parliamentary portfolio committee on Agriculture seeking a review and reduction of the land tax which is currently pegged at $3 per hectare.
Livestock expect and chamber official, Muhle Masuku told Radio Dialogue the fee is too high for local cattle farmers and is hindering animal productivity.
“Farmers are being asked to pay $3 per hectare which places a burden on livestock farmers who require vast tracks of land for livestock farming,” Masuku said. “Those who are engaged in agricultural produce have an advantage because they are realising an income from their agricultural activities yearly whereas livestock farmers wait for years before they can start earning an income from their livestock.”
According to the chamber, an independent research showed that farmers in the region have unanimously concluded that the land tax being charged all farmers is unfair to farmers in dry regions when compared to agriculturally productive regions.
Masuku said they are hoping to meet the parliamentary portfolio committee to express their challenges as farmers.
Meanwhile the chamber has revealed that the $3 paid annually is not being used to develop the infrastructure required by farmers to enhance productivity.
“The money we are paying as land tax is shared between council and government but it is not being channelled towards the development of infrastructure such as bridges and roads,” he said. “As farmers we expect the money to be ploughed back into developing the infrastructure that we use on a daily basis.”