Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (ESAP): precursor to the fast track resettlement?
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In 1991, the Government of Zimbabwe abandoned its highly interventionist economic strategy and adopted a market driven Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (ESAP). A major objective of ESAP was the reorientation of the economy from the production of non-tradable to the production of tradable goods. Through a sustained depreciation of the exchange rate, the prices of tradable goods rise relative to those of non-tradable goods, thereby shifting the domestic terms of trade in favour of tradable goods relative to non-tradable goods. All other things remaining equal, the tradable goods sector becomes more profitable relative to the nontradable goods sector. Following this shift in relative prices, producers are expected to shift from the production of non-tradable to the production of tradable goods, with output and employment growth expected to be faster in the tradable, relative to the non-tradable goods sector. This chapter explores the impact of ESAP on the quality of life for small - scale farmers and the rural population. Small-scale farmers emerged out of attempts by colonial rulers to decongest the communal areas by promoting a class of successful (master) farmers, who were then allocated larger pieces of land (30-300 acres) in the newly created African Purchase Areas (APAs). This class of ‘large’ peasants became known as the small-scale commercial farmers. It is the welfare of these, and that of communal farmers during the period of ESAP that this chapter is about. The chapter is organised as follows. While the first section provides an introduction, the second examines the post-independence, pre-ESAP period (1980-90).