Zimbabwe’s land reform: challenging the myths
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Most commentary on Zimbabwe’s land reform insists that agricultural production has almost totally collapsed, that food insecurity is rife, that rural economies are in precipitous decline, that political ‘cronies’ have taken over the land and that farm labour has all been displaced. This paper however argues that the story is not simply one of collapse and catastrophe; it is much more nuanced and complex, with successes as well as failures. The paper provides a summary of some of the key findings from a ten-year study in Masvingo province and the book Zimbabwe’s Land Reform: Myths and Realities. The paper documents the nature of the radical transformation of agrarian structure that has occurred both nationally and within the province, and the implications for agricultural production and livelihoods. A discussion of who got the land shows the diversity of new settlers, many of whom have invested substantially in their new farms. An emergent group ‘middle farmers’ is identified who are producing, investing and accumulating. This has important implications – both economically and politically – for the future, as the final section on policy challenges discusses.
CitationScoones, Ian, et al. "Zimbabwe's land reform: challenging the myths." Journal of Peasant Studies 38.5 (2011): 967-993.
Rights holderTaylor and Francis
- ESRC STEPS Centre