Government Assisted And Market- Driven Land Reform: Evaluating Public and Private Land Markets in Redistributing Land in Zimbabwe
MetadataShow full item record
Upon independence in 1980, Zimbabwe inherited a dual economy characterized by skewed land ownership and white minority control of land. For a decade following independence, government made headway in redistributing land to the black majority population through state-assisted land reform, but these efforts had substantially stalled by the late 1980s. A joint government-donor initiative in 1998 sought to re-energize Zimbabwe's land reform programme using improved government- and market-assisted approaches) but this initiative by 2000 had become displaced by the Fast Track programme. What is less known is that two other mechanisms - the private land market (deeds transfers), and public leasing of state lands - have also been active in redistributing land. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the role and potential of these two mechanisms in future land reform debate. It was found that while government-assisted land resettlement averaged ± 85 000 ha/year over the period 1984-2001, the private land market redistributed between 25 000 and 80 000 ha per year to "black" farmers between 1996 and 1999. Unfortunately, beginning in 2000 with the Fast Track programme, the private land market for both "black" and "white" farmers has collapsed, as have land valuations and mortgage financing. Meanwhile, the public leasing market in the late 1990s accelerated as government began to unload its properties on the public leasing market. Neither process - financial distress in the rural sector or government ownership and leasing of land - provides the foundations for a productive agricultural sector. This paper concludes with concrete recommendations for both public leasing and private land markets that would improve delivery of land to the black majority, both men and women.