Zim 99-year leases must be bankable, says Dutch Ambassador

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By Robert Tapfumaneyi

NETHERLANDS ambassador to Zimbabwe, Barbara Van Hellemond says a Zimbabwean economy based on predictable and consistent policies, and executed in a transparent manner, will attract Dutch investors in the near future.

She said this during a Dutch company, PUM and ZimTrade Memorandum of Understanding on model farm project signing ceremony in Harare on Monday.

PUM Netherlands is a company of senior experts who offer knowledge and expertise in 50 sectors of the economy.

“Despite a challenging economic and political environment, we have been able to support the private sector through knowledge transfer, we do this through programmes such as PUM,” Hellemond said.

“We are proud to see PUM, a Dutch business support organisation of experts working with different Zimbabwean SMEs and farmers to enhance productivity and export competitiveness.

“I believe, through collaborations like these, Zimbabwe’s agriculture sector can be rebuilt and increase its regional competitiveness.”

She added, “The agricultural sector will however only be revived to its fullest potential within a conducive environment.

“We will keep pushing the Zimbabwean government for progress on the bankable 99-year leases, a new land governance policy and respect for property rights…”

The Dutch envoy also said her tiny country, which is just 10% the size of Zimbabwe, exports $65 billion worth of vegetables, fruits, flowers, meat and dairy products a year.

“As the world’s second food exporter after US, the Netherlands is a global agricultural powerhouse; the driving force behind the country’s vast agricultural output is green houses, with some of them covering more than 175 acres of land,” she said.

The MOU signed Monday will pave way for successful implementation of the Best Model farm project, which is meant to grow horticultural exports from small-scale farmers in the country.