The effect of ox sharing arrangements on the supply and use of draught animals in the communal areas of Zimbabwe- preliminary findings
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Livestock, particularly cattle, form an important link in peasant farming systems through the provision of inputs for crop production. Sixty percent of the national cattle herd is found in the communal areas (Smith 1988) and ninety percent of the farm power comes from animal traction. The major source of draught power for the communal farmer is cattle and the preferred draught animal is the ox, though cows are increasingly used as draught animals. Donkeys are also an important supplier of draught power especially in natural regions IV and V. Since the evolution of permanent agriculture at the end of the nineteenth century the productive utility of cattle as suppliers of draught power and manure has grown steadily in importance and the economic role of cattle is now more pronounced than the socio-cultural roles.