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ACTING President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Saturday announced that government will soon intensify its land grab targeting the few remaining white farmers, multiple farm owners and reduce farm sizes, as Zanu-PF seeks to consolidate its land reform programme and ensure economic stability.

Addressing Zanu-PF supporters in his Chirumanzu-Zibagwe constituency, where he was bidding farewell following his elevation to the post of vice-president, Mnangagwa said after achieving political stability, the government's new thrust was to resuscitate the country's agro-based economy.

"Now we are focusing on developing our country. The most important thing as Zanu-PF is to support agriculture. In the inclusive government, we had boys with no concern to support farming. Those with multiple farms, we will take them, the few whites on farms, we will look into that and those with big farms, we will cut to size," he said.

Mnangagwa's remarks come at a time the Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU), which is largely made up of white farmers, has expressed scepticism over the government's sincerity regarding partnerships between indigenous and former commercial farmers.

CFU spokesperson Hendrik Olivier recently said white farmers were still hesitant to enter into partnerships with locals, despite recent assurances by Lands minister Douglas Mombeshora.

On January 4 this year, Mombeshora announced a major policy climbdown and said the government would now allow joint farming ventures between new black farmers and white commercial farmers.

Earlier, President Robert Mugabe had threatened to deal ruthlessly with indigenous farmers who fronted or partnered whites.

He has on several occasions threatened to repossess farms from all resettled farmers working with former white land owners.

In his weekend address, Mnangagwa also said the government, through the Mines ministry, was working on ensuring that small-scale miners were assisted.

He said the Foreign Affairs ministry was working on ensuring free visa requirements for countries friendly to Zimbabwe, including China, Japan, India, Russia and others, to boost tourist arrivals into the country.

Turning to Zanu-PF internal fights, Mnangagwa described disgruntled members pushing for the nullification of the party's December congress resolutions as "barking puppies" that would not stop the movement of an elephant.

"Puppies will bark," he said.

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