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Latest articles

What does pro-poor rural development mean for Zimbabwe?
November 28, 2019 / Our blog
During last year’s election campaign, Tendai Biti from the opposition MDC, characterised the rural areas as ‘reservoirs of poverty’ in need of ‘liquidation’. Such a characterisation of course is a huge generalisation. Any rural policy must take a more differentiated view, and
Off-farm work and diversified livelihoods in Zimbabwe’s communal areas
November 3, 2019 / Our blog
With low agricultural output, off-farm work is an essential complement to agricultural production in Zimbabwe’s communal areas. Working away has always been part and parcel of communal area livelihoods; indeed these were established as ‘labour reserves’ in the colonial era.
Livestock production: the limits of extensive systems in Zimbabwe
October 30, 2019 / Our blog
As the previous blog described, the communal area sites we have been studying in Masvingo rarely produced sufficient crops to cover even subsistence needs, and then if so only very occasionally, as with the Mwenezi experience in 2016-17. So what about livestock
Agriculture in Masvingo’s communal areas: limited prospects
October 24, 2019 / Our blog
We investigated agricultural production across our communal area sites throughout Masvingo province during the 2016 and 2017 harvest seasons. These were relatively good rainfall years, with 690 mm recorded in Masvingo town in 2016-17, for instance. Compared to the past
Land and tenure in Zimbabwe’s communal areas: why land reform was needed
October 14, 2019 / Our blog
Access to land is central to the livelihoods of rural people, but in the communal areas this is highly constrained outside the land-extensive Lowveld site of Mwenezi. Even in dryland Chivi average holdings are only 2.1 hectares, while in Gutu
South Africa’s land report: Zimbabwe lessons?
September 19, 2019 / Our blog
South Africa’s land panel finally produced its report at the end of July. At 144 pages it’s an impressive document, making all the right noises. South Africa, like Zimbabwe, left the land issue for too long. 25 years after freedom, at least