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Zimbabwe land reforms target wildlife reserves

HARARE, Mar 9 – Zimbabwean authorities will force the country\’s predominantly white wildlife park owners to join with black partners in a new round of controversial land reforms, state media said Wednesday.

"Government is now implementing the wildlife-based land reform policy after five years of resistance from conservancy owners," The Herald newspaper reported.

"This will see 59 indigenous people getting leases from the government or sharing conservancies with white former owners."

Parks and wildlife authority director-general Vitalis Chadenga said the project was "one of the unfinished businesses of the country\’s land reform programme."

Under land reforms launched by long-time President Robert Mugabe in 2000, Zimbabwean authorities seized farms from thousands of white owners in what Mugabe called a correction of historical imbalances in the former British colony.

The often chaotic and violent land reforms, led by pro-Mugabe militants, were blamed for a food crisis in the one-time regional breadbasket as the majority of new owners lacked the means and skills to farm.

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