The elusive peasant: Zimbabwe's agricultural policy, 1965-1986
Blackie, Malcolm J.
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The prospect of attempting to analyse agricultural policy in Zimbabwe over the years 1965 to 1986 is daunting. The period includes some of the most dramatic political and natural shocks absorbed by the Zimbabwe economy this century. The year 1965 marks the illegal assumption of independence (UDI) by the previous Rhodesia government. UDI preceeded the most intense phase of the liberation war; a war which was largely fought over, and in, the farming areas of Zimbabwe. Between 1965 and 1980, the economy had to withstand the economic sanctions imposed against the Smith government, and the inflationary shocks of the massive oil price rises in the 1970s. Agriculture was severely hit by these combined blows with whole farm gross margins declining by 22 percent in real terms between 1973 and 1979 (Chavunduka, 1982). In 1980 came legal independence and a total reversal of government political ideology. A series of droughts, including an almost unprecedented three year drought from 1982-83 to 1984-85, put further pressure on the agricultural sector.