White farmers in Zimbabwe are cautiously optimistic about the future after the new president pledged to compensate those who lost their land following controversial reforms in 2000. David Pollard reports.
Dormervale farm produces 600 tonnes of peas, carrots and beans for export to Europe and the UK. Britain's supermarket chain Tesco is one of their main buyers. Robert Mugabe's resignation means big changes. Zimbabwe's new President has promised to compensate white farmers who lost land under its former leader. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ZIMBABWEAN FARMER AND OWNER OF DORMERVALE FARM, DAVE WORSWICK, SAYING: "I am totally optimistic that president Mnangagwa is going to carry out that promise and I think we are looking at a brighter future in Zimbabwe." The Worswick family has farmed here for 107 years. But Dave and his brother used to have a lot more land. They gave up two farms to the government in 1997. Four years later Mugabe introduced laws to seize white-owned farms and redistribute the land to black subsistence farmers. Now it's being looked at as a key sector to reform. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DIRECTOR OF COMMERCIAL FARMERS UNION, BILL GILPIN, SAYING: "It will enable a whole bundle of rights to be delivered to farmers on the ground and this will restore bankability to the sector and enable full recovery. It will also send a very positive message to international investors." There's already been considerable interest from foreign investors. But they'll need guarantees. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ZIMBABWEAN FARMER AND OWNER OF DORMERVALE FARM, PHILIP WORSWICK, SAYING "The European Union and the UK are looking very closely at Zimbabwe and they want to get a foot in the door but they don't want to set up orders and set up pack sheds and horticultural projects that are going to collapse after a year or two or be taken over." The end of the Mugabe era was a huge relief for the Worswicks. Earlier this year the land ministry demanded more land from them. That could have made their business unviable - threatening 1400 jobs.