Harare - The Zimbabwe government will give priority to elderly white farmers when it starts compensating those who lost their properties during the controversial land reforms, the president said in an interview published Sunday.
The finance and agriculture ministries last week said they had budgeted 53 million Zimbabwean dollars ($18 million) in payments to white commercial farmers whose properties were seized nearly 20 years ago under Robert Mugabe.
The government pledged to target those in "financial distress".
In an interview with the state-owned Sunday Mail newspaper, Emmerson Mnangagwa said the estimated value of the improvements on the farms would be three billion Zimbabwe dollars ($1-billion) and that government was not under pressure to pay all farmers.
"We are looking at old white farmers as we make payment," Mnangagwa told the paper ahead of Zimbabwe's 39th independence anniversary on Thursday.