Livestock ownership and inequality with particular reference to cattle: the case of some communal areas in rural Zimbabwe
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The main objective of this paper is to demonstrate the extent of inequality in livestock ownership patterns, particularly in respect of cattle, from a selected number of districts in Zimbabwe. For the purpose of this presentation, data relating to cattle, goats and sheep have been examined. Evidence led in this paper shows the following: The distribution pattern of livestock holdings in communal areas is highly uneven, with a larger number of farmers having less livestock than those that have more livestock. This has been illustrated by the very high Pearsonian coefficient of skewness, the consistently high coefficient of variation in all the communal areas from which data was analyzed and to a lesser extent, by the high range in the ownership patterns of the different types of livestock. The major reasons cited in this paper for this unfavorable situation are: i) general poverty in rural areas, which is highlighted in the stratified nature of rural society; ii) the impact of a series of droughts during previous agricultural seasons which have led to high livestock deaths over the past few years; iii) the status symbol/traditional role cattle play in communal faming areas - those communal farmers with large herds of cattle have not been very willing to sell their cattle/ even following the tragic experiences of recent droughts.