A committee has been formed by the government, farmers and donors to raise funding for the compensation, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga said at the ceremony. Zimbabwe's rulers maintain that the land was taken forcibly during colonial times and needed to be returned to Black residents. The compensation agreement is for improvements and assets on the more than 4,000 farms that were seized.
Zimbabwe's agriculture minister Perrance Shiri died from the COVID-19 infection, becoming the first senior government official to succumb to the pandemic, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Thursday.
He added: "The agreement re-affirms the irreversibility of land reform and is as a symbol of our commitment to the rule of law and property rights".
Zimbabwe's Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mthuli Ncube officially signed the compensation agreement with former commercial farmers on Wednesday, July 29.
'We are determined that we achieve that.
"With regards to the land compensation agreement signed today, my administration reaffirms that the government of Zimbabwe does not have any obligation for compensation for acquired land", Mnangagwa said on Wednesday.
Details of how much money each farmer or their descendants, given the time elapsed since the farms were seized, was likely to get were not yet clear, but the government has said it would prioritise the elderly when making the settlements.
"As Zimbabweans, we have chosen to resolve this long-outstanding issue", said Andrew Pascoe, head of the Commercial Farmers Union representing white farmers.
The land seizures were one of Mugabe's signature policies that soured ties with the West. Mugabe, who was ousted in a coup in 2017 and died past year, accused the West of imposing sanctions on his government as punishment.
The programme still divides public opinion in Zimbabwe as opponents see it as a partisan process that left the country struggling to feed itself. Economic output fell by half following the land seizures, and the economy has been hobbled ever since.