The Zimbabwean government has said that white farmers whose tracts of land were seized between 2000 and 2001 under a government programme of land reform can apply to get them back.

Where the land cannot be given back, the farmers will be offered land elsewhere, according to a joint statement by Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube and Lands and Agriculture Minister Anxious Masuka.

The ministers said the government would revoke offer letters to black farmers who were resettled in the land.

They said the white farmers whose land was to be seized by government but is yet to be taken can can apply to lease the land for 99 years.

Some 3,500 white farmers were evicted from their farms during the controversial land reforms.

Zimbabwe’s government agreed in May to pay $3.5bn (£2.6bn) in compensation to white farmers whose land was taken during the land reforms.

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