Harare – The Zimbabwean government has started compensating white farmers who were evicted from their land under the country's controversial land reform programme over a decade ago, the state-owned Herald newspaper has said. Lands and Rural Resettlement Minister Douglas Mombeshora said the government had already begun payment to some white commercial farmers. Mombeshora added that the government had also sent out 14 teams of experts to evaluate the land in order to help government speed up the compensation process. The study was expected to be finished in 2017. Mombeshora said a small batch of the farmers, where evaluations had been completed, had already received their money. He, however, did not disclose how much the farmers had received. "In actual fact, compensation of those who lost their land under the land reform programme has already started. But so far only a small number of people have been paid, especially those where evaluations were complete," Mombeshora was quoted saying. President Robert Mugabe’s government started the controversial land seizures of white-owned farms to resettle landless blacks, in 2000. At least 4 000 white commercial farmers were evicted from their farms.Mugabe said at the time that the reforms were meant to correct colonial land ownership imbalances.The land seizures were often violent, claiming the lives of several white farmers during clashes with veterans of Zimbabwe's 1970s liberation struggle.In a report in March, NewsDay revealed that some white farmers were sceptical of the government plans to compensate them. They expressed concerns over where the compensation money was going to come from.