Saturday, 24 January 2015

Maize Production: the real impact of the Fast Track Land Reform Programme in Zimbabwe
Author: Bernard Bwoni
The study attempts to examine and analyse the impact of expanded area planted as an integral part of overall maize production strategy in Zimbabwe from 1961 to 2014. The focus is then narrowed down to the period 5 years before, during and 5 years after the Fast Track Land Reform Programme (FTLRP) in Zimbabwe and a component annual growth rate analysis model is used to analyse the impact of policy shift of a major land redistributive process on maize production. The component annual growth rate model is used because over a number of years it is a better indication of a trend than a single year’s growth which may be atypically good or bad. This study seeks to establish whether the production annual growth rate of the identified three periods are supported by the area planted annual growth rates of the same three periods. A simple exponential model is used to show the trends in maize production and yield in response to increased maize area planted. The trend analysis shows variations in yields and output throughout the 53 years.
The comparison of production and area planted for maize growth rates in the three periods indicates that the yield effect has an effect on growth. The decrease in area planted for maize seems to suggest some positive effects on output. The analysis of the overall period from 2001 to 2014 reveals that even though area under cultivation declined by 3.2% the output only increased by 0.4% whilst yield showed an increase of 1.8%. The study investigates whether these trends were already happening prior to the FTLRP or are they an outcome of the programme. From the results of the compound annual growth rate analysis, both yield and output did not emerge as directly linked to expanded area under maize cultivation. The observed variable with regards to expanded land use for maize is that of farmers starting to allocate more land to tobacco and other cash crops where profits are higher and area planted for maize annual growth rate declining.


The need to rationalise land redistribution policies stems from economic, social and political purposes (Moyo and Chambati, 2013: 12; Cousins and Scoones, 2009: 4; Elich, 2006: 344). The main economic justification for land reform lies in the inverse-farm productivity relationship, which suggest that production increases exponentially with decrease in farm size because there are few economies of scale, in fact there may be diseconomies of scale if farm size grows larger than household labour can effectively manage and work, (Berry and Cline, 1979: 148; Rao and Chotigeat, 1981; Feder, 1985; Cornia, 1985; Barrett, 1996). There is evidence from literature and surveys of farms of different sizes in the developing countries that have shown that small farms produce more output per hectare than larger farms (Cornia, 1985). The diseconomies of scale can be expected in developing countries where labour is cheaply and readily available and as such small farms may be at an advantage than larger farms.

The argument is that with land redistribution the landless poor gain whilst the rich landowners loses and thus the process of redistributing land can lead to gains in welfare by the poor beneficiaries (Birdsall and Londono,1997: 15; Elich, 2006: 346). Furthermore the need for equality also stimulates redistributive land reforms especially in countries where the majority of the population are reliant on agriculture (Deininger et al, 2004: 1704). Political motives justify this need for land redistribution and this is particularly evident in countries where there had been social injustice and historically biased patterns of land ownership (Elich, 2006: 342).

In Zimbabwe equity and political considerations have been the driving motives for FTLRP. Zimbabwe attained independence from British settler occupation on 18th April 1980 following a protracted liberation struggle and inherited a dual and racially-biased land ownership pattern. The sector had a modernised commercial large-scale farming subsector existing alongside a non-mechanised, subsistence and predominantly communal small-scale subsector. It is against this background that the government of Zimbabwe has, since independence, pursued a land reform and resettlement programme premised primarily on the acquisition and redistribution of land.

Since 1980 various socioeconomic and political factors have had an impact on Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector. There have been changes in maize production trends with the small scale and communal sectors taking the lead with their average output going over 65% whilst the large scale commercial sector concentrated on producing mainly for export (Jayne et al, 1994). During Zimbabwe’s economic structural adjustment programme the marketing of maize changed from a state controlled system to a free market structure and again during that period of hyperinflation before the 2008 elections. The FTLRP drastically changed the entire policy trajectory and the structure of maize production and as such it is important to understand the implications of such changes on the sector as whole.

In general, the empirical evidence on the economic benefits of redistributive land reforms is mixed. Researchers such as Birdsall and Londono (1997: 15), Deininger et al, (2004: 1708), Scoones et al (2010: 10) Moyo and Chambati (2013: 12) argue that redistributive land reform can improve growth. However Richardson (2005: 542; Richardson, 2006) has argued that it only provides temporary welfare relief unless merged with sound investment in other enterprise developments off the farm and secure property rights. At independence in 1980 agriculture contributed about 20 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) and 40 per cent of the exports and employed 70 per cent of the workforce (Moyo and Chambati, 2013: 4). These mixed views on the impact of the land reform on productivity stem from the fact that there has been limited research into impact assessments of redistributive land reforms and implementation differs within and across countries. One of the objectives of this research is to analyse the impact of expanded land use on maize production following the redistributive land reform in Zimbabwe.

Research Problem

Since 2001 Zimbabwe has experienced food shortages and has relied heavily on maize imports owing to perennial maize shortages. The persistent droughts and the changes in the land ownership structures following the FTLRP have unavoidably had an effect on maize production. Elich (2006: 280) points out that ‘temporary economic dislocation in an unavoidable by-product of any land reform, but the only path to genuine and lasting progress is through land redistribution’. Richardson (2007) argues that policy shift through the FTLRP was a direct result of the acute and persistent maize shortages in Zimbabwe from 2001. However it is important not to solely attribute the maize production deficiencies to the FTLRP without taking into account the other factors that had been ongoing prior to the policy such as droughts and the government’s economic trajectory of the period prior to the policy (Anderson, 2007). There is need for more dialogue and debate on the impact of the FTLRP on production, in particular maize production. Maize production challenges in Zimbabwe can be attributed to factors relating to the land redistributive policy and other factors not related to the policy including negative effect of the economic sanctions, lack of funding, inadequate inputs and inadequate commercial farming expertise.

Objectives of the study

The premise of this research is to analyse maize production strategy following the most recent phase of Zimbabwe’s land reform programme, the Fast Track Land Reform Programme (FTLRP). An exponential smoothing time series analysis is used to investigate the impact of the FTLRP on the maize area planted, output and yield. The aim of this study is to explore and analyse the effects of increased land planted on maize production. Maize production is a function of area planted and yield and production growth rate is disaggregated into yield growth rate and area planted growth rate. Thus multiplying the area planted and yield derives the maize production quantities. The annual production quantity through time is used to determine impact of the FTLRP. The increase or decrease in production following the redistributive land reform in relation to the period before could provide an indication into the impact of the policy.

The study will not determine whether those who benefited from the FTLRP are producing more output or less output than the previous large scale commercial farmers but rather seeks to examine the relationship between expanded land planted for maize, yield and production. For the purpose of this research increased production is positive impact and decreased maize production is negative impact. A Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) model is utilised to determine the rate at which maize production grows over the identified periods before, during and after the FTLRP. The CAGR model is utilised because over a number of years it is a better indication of trend than a single years’ growth (Ferbar, 2009: 51). Thus it is used to measure performance over periods of time and helps describe a long term trend and has the effect of smoothing out period fluctuations.

 Motivation of the study

The motivation behind this research is to first of foremost; contribute to the limited literature on Zimbabwe’s FTLRP. Research in this area is vital to the academic sphere given that land reform policy has been a contentious topic for over a decade and the realities on the ground require further exploration to gain more insight and understanding of the story behind the process as Zimbabwe’s future relies on it. More piquant, there is a need to document this process as increased growth in production of agricultural products is it contributes greatly to the country’s economy as it can lead to significant reductions in poverty and income inequalities and improve livelihoods as people will consume their produce and sell their surplus.

Literature Review

Land Ownership Patterns in Zimbabwe

The land ownership patterns that entailed in Zimbabwe have their historical roots in the Land Apportionment Act of 1930 and the Land Husbandry Act of 1951 (Scoones and Cousins, 2009: 3). The Land Apportionment Act of 1930 was a very repressive and limiting legislation enacted by the Rhodesian government as it deliberately entailed that over half of all the land in Zimbabwe was exclusively reserved for the white settlers. The settler population accounted for only two percent of the total population of Zimbabwe and the other 98% of the indigenous population was deliberately dotted on the borderlines of the country’s productive lands (Moyo and Chambati, 2013: 4).

Figure 1: Land Apportionment Act (1930)

Source: figures from Utete Report (2003) graphed by author

Moyana (1984: 27) postulates that the Land Apportionment Act of 1930 was meant to enhance settler supremacy as the Rhodesian government argued that indigenous blacks who were able to buy land were too inferior to possibly compete with European land-owners and as such argued for the creation of a special category of land specifically for purchase by Africans. The blacks in Zimbabwe were not allowed to own land in the native reserves where they had been forced into as the 1930 Land Apportionment Act took away the right of indigenous black people to purchase land anywhere in the country (Utete Report, 2003). The Act replaced that right with an opportunity to purchase land in the specially and racially designated Native Purchase Areas (Moyana, 1984). The Native Purchase areas were in areas that were considered unsuitable for intensive agriculture and more than a third of the allocated land was in areas considered to be unsuitable for any agriculture other than livestock rearing.

Over 50% of the land allocated for purchase by blacks was in the unproductive natural ecological regions of the country (Moyana, 1984). Thus under the Land Apportionment Act the fertile and high rainfall areas became the Large Scale Commercial privately owned white settler farms. The land owned by the white settlers was private whilst land owned by the indigenous black people was held under traditional tenure (Elich, 2006: 335). The Land Husbandry Act of 1951 evicted indigenous black people from their land and the land was allocated with freehold tenure to Ex-British Servicemen returning from World War II.

By 1969 the settler community had increased and occupied predominantly the best agro-ecological regions which were their exclusive reserve (Sobhan, 1993: 33). The areas occupied by the settlers accounted for nearly half of all agricultural land whilst the indigenous population were relegated to reserves called the Tribal Trust Lands where the soils were not fertile and rainfall patterns were erratic. According Rukuni (1994) over 80% of the entire rural indigenous population was forced into TTLs.

Table 1: Land Areas by Natural Ecological Region

Natural region
Suitable intensity of land use
613233 hectares
Specialised and diversified crops
1,050 mm plus rainfall annually with some rain in all relatively low temperature periods
7343059 hectares
(18. 68%)
700-1,050mm rainfall annually with rainfall confined to summer
6 854 958 hectares
500-700mm rainfall annually with relative high temperatures and infrequent heavy rain falls and subject to seasonal drought
13 010 036
450-600mm rainfall annually and subject to frequent seasonal droughts
10 058 460
Normally less than 500mm rainfall annually. Very erratic rainfall. Northern low-veld may have more rainfall but topography and soils are poorer

Source: Utete Report (2003)

Figure 2: Natural Regions of Zimbabwe

Source: Utete Report (2003)

Zimbabwe’s total land area is 39.5 million hectares and 32.8 million hectares is reserved for agriculture (GoZ, 2009). The quality of Zimbabwe’s land areas has been stratified into five natural agro-ecological zones which represent land use land use possibilities according to average rainfall and the variability of the rainfall.

Table 2: Distribution of farming sectors by natural region

Natural Region
Average Annual Rainfall (mm)
Areas Km2
Total %
Communal & Resettlement %

Source: Utete Report (2003)

The white setter farms were located exclusively in the Natural Region I and II whilst the indigenous population were forced into the Natural Regions IV and V which were predominantly the TTLs (Rukuni et al, 2006: 155).

Zimbabwe Agricultural History

Prior to Zimbabwe attaining independence in 1980 and through to the late 1990s production in large scale commercial farms (LSC) dominated agricultural production and this was highly diversified with most crops comprising between 3% and 5% of the total LSC production (Bautista et al, 2002: 67). The LSC production was characterised by high value crops such as tobacco which accounted for 51% of total LSC production, intensive use of capital and inputs. Conversely most communal smallholder farmers were characterised by more labour intensive production and little use of inputs (Bautista and Thomas, 1999; Chambati, 2011).

Smallholder farms, mostly communal farms were characterised by more labour intensive production and little use of inputs (Deininger et al, 2002; Bautista and Thomas, 1999; Chitiga and Mabugu, 2008). Their production was dominated by maize and cattle which together accounted for more than half their total production (Moyo, 2004). Smallholder production was mainly directed for home consumption as evidenced by its contribution to the market supply, although smallholder maize production accounted for 63% of total production it contributed only 40% of the marketed supply in 1980 (Bautista and Thomas, 1999).

Table 3: LSC and SSC maize share in total agricultural production

Share in total agricultural production
Contribution to total marketed production
SH %

SH %



Source: ZIMSTAT (2012)

The dualistic structure of the Zimbabwean agriculture with modern large-scale commercial farms and a communal smallholder sector was characterised by a clear distinction based on production technology, land quality, infrastructure development, specialisation (Rukuni, 2006). In 1991 the rural population accounted for over 80% of the poor in Zimbabwe with 81% coming from smallholder sector and 71% from LSC farm worker households (Bautista et al, 2002). Zimbabwe is largely an agrarian economy and by 1990 agriculture contributed over 15% towards the GDP share and currently agriculture and agricultural-related activities accounts for two-thirds of employment in the country, 25% of the GDP and 40% of foreign exchange earnings (Chambati, 2011).

The agrarian structure that existed before 2000 fostered a culture of dependence, ingrained inequalities and allowed the extension of a class that was permanently deprived economically (Moyo and Chambati, 2013). The FTLRP which started in early 2000 has arguably reversed the heavily-skewed agrarian structure and discriminatory land tenures of the colonial past (Rukuni, 2006). Nevertheless, Richardson (2005) and Andersson (2007) have argued that the FTLRP caused a severe decline in the country’s agriculture productivity with economy-wide repercussions with the newly resettled farmers failing to have a positive impact on agricultural productivity and stimulate anticipated economic growth.

The necessity of the land reform

The general consensus worldwide is that Zimbabwe took over from Rhodesia a thriving economy that was largely agro-based in 1980 when the country attained independence. The agricultural sector was characterised by dual and a racially biased land ownership pattern (Scoones et al 2010; Chambati, 2011). The white large-scale commercial farmers, consisting of less than 1% of the population, occupied 45% of all agricultural land, of which 75% was found in the most agriculturally productive areas (Shaw, 2003; Moyo, 2005:77). Indigenous Africans, on the other hand, constituted the small-scale communal agricultural sector with communal land ownership vested in the Rhodesian state and no secure property rights (Moyo and Chambati, 2013: 12). The inequalities were significant at independence and this imbalance continued through to the late 1990s at which point the government of Zimbabwe embarked on the radical FTLRP premised on large scale land acquisition and redistribution to the originally dispossessed indigenous Zimbabweans (Scoones et al, 2010; Elich, 2006:335).

The main motive behind this programme has been multifaceted but primarily to redress the imbalances in access to fertile land, to reduce pressure on land in the overpopulated communal lands where most indigenous peoples were forced into making way for the settler farmers, to extend and improve the productive platform for small holder agriculture and bring idle or under-utilised land into full production (Kinsey, 1999; Chambati 2011: 1049). The land reform was a necessity but arguments continue to question the manner it was carried out with (Richardson, 2005:541) arguing that it reduced Zimbabwe from the breadbasket to the basket-case of Southern Africa.

Table 4: Land distribution pre-and-post FTLRP

Source: Utete Report, 2003; GoZ, 2004



History of Land Reform in Zimbabwe

Two main phases make up the land reform and resettlement of the landless indigenous majority in Zimbabwe. The first phase started when the country attained independence in 1980 and ended in 1997. The initial phase of the land reform was based on the premise of the willing-buyer/willing seller approach in line with the newly formed Zimbabwe Government policy of national reconciliation and the highly obstructive Lancaster House Constitution (Rukuni, 2006). In 1997 the Government of Zimbabwe initiated the process of radical land reform presupposed on extensive compulsory land acquisition and redistribution to the landless indigenous population (Moyo, 2004). This marked the second phase of the land reform programme.

Figure 3: Land Ownership patterns prior to FTLRP

Source: Utete Report (2003)

Figure 4: Distribution by sector prior to FTLRP

Source: CFUZ (2012)

Figure 5: Land Ownership Pattern after FTLRP

Source: Utete Report (2003)

The FTLRP was officially launched in July 2000 and the main objectives were to accelerate and facilitate the resettlement of no less than five million hectares of land for compulsory acquisition for resettlement, the planning and demarcation of acquired land and to provide basic infrastructure and farm support services (Moyo and Chambati, 2013).

Figure 6: Land Reform History 1980-2004

Source: Data from Utete Report (2003)

Compulsory acquisition was largely to be made from white commercial farmers, private companies and absentee landlords. The programme comprised to models A1 which was intended to decongest communal areas and was targeted at land constrained farmers in the communal areas. This model is based on existing communal area organisation whereby peasants produce mainly for subsistence. Model A2, on the other hand, is a commercial settlement scheme comprising of small, medium and large-scale commercial settlements intended to create a new group of black commercial farmers. This in principle is targeted at any Zimbabwean citizen who can prove farming experience and resource availability and is based on the concept of full cost recovery from the beneficiary (Rukuni, 2006; Scoones et al, 2010; Moyo and Chambati, 2013).

Under the FTLRP permits were provided for Model A1 beneficiaries and a 99 year lease with the option to purchase the land for Model A2 beneficiaries. There have been ongoing concerns expressed by the A2 beneficiaries regarding these leases as financial institutions have expressed reservations about lending money to the new farmers without permanent and secure property rights status. This uncertainty has been a source of insecurity among the land beneficiaries (Commercial Farmers Union Zimbabwe, 2011). The after effects of the FTLRP in Zimbabwe are that the newly resettled indigenous farmers were given small plots of land in former settler commercial farms without any title to the land as the ninety-nine year leases meant that they were forced to lease the land from government from year to year and thus no means to borrow against the land from banks and other financial institutions to buy seeds, fertilisers or equipment. (OECD 2003: 358; Richardson 2005: 550).

Under the FTLRP the four main commercial field crops which include wheat, tobacco, soybeans and sunflower, have had an initial period of reduced area plantings and output levels due to low uptake and use of land as well as lack of experience and lack of resources on the part of the newly resettled farmers (Moyo, 2006: 37). Again the main crops produced by smallholder farmers, which include maize, small grains, groundnuts and cotton, also experienced an initial output reduction despite marginal increase in area planted.

According to an OECD (2003: 356) the estimation is that agricultural sector in Zimbabwe suffered a 12.9 percent decline in 2001 following the FTLRP. This marked decline is multifaceted but mainly the result of the drought of 2001/02, the readjustment of the agricultural sector following the land redistribution process and the effects of the economic sanctions that were imposed against Zimbabwe by the USA and the EU (Elich 2006: 349). Richardson (2005) disagrees with this assertion and argues that the FTLRP was the main cause of Zimbabwe’s sudden economic decline and the collapse of the agriculture sector as it damaged property rights which in turn destroyed investor confidence. Maize production, which declined by 34% from a total of 2.1 million tonnes in 1999/2000 season to about 1.5 million tonnes in the following season preceding the FTLRP, declined by 66.2% in the 2001/02 season to 0.46 million tonnes.

According to FAO (2007), in communal areas maize yields halved to approximately 1.3 million tonnes per hectare in 1986 to approximately 0.8 tonnes per hectare in 2004. That was only four years after the start of the FTLRP programme.

Economic Impact of the FTLRP in Zimbabwe

Despite there being a lack of up to date and reliable data there are a number of macro and micro level studies that have explored economic impact of the fast track land reform in Zimbabwe. In his extensive study, Richardson (2005) argues that the programme has led to the economic decline in Zimbabwe, in particular that agricultural production declined since the programme was started in 2000; in fact, by 2004 it had dropped by 30%. He argues that manufacturing industry has declined significantly and the economy as a whole shrunk by 15% by 2003 mainly agriculture’s close links with manufacturing.

The argument is that prior to the FTLRP the agricultural sector employed more than 70% of the labour force, and accounted for between 9% and 15% of GDP and between 20% and 33% of export earnings (Chitiga and Mabugu, 2008). Shaw (2003); Richardson (2004; 2005); and Andersson (2007; Chabhongora et al, 2010 argue that the negative macro-impact of the FTLRP on agricultural production could be attributed to a number of factors namely the distribution of land from private ownership and transferring it to newly resettled farmers who have to lease the land from the government. Estimates indicate that commercial farmland lost around three-quarters of its aggregate value from 2000 to 2001 as a result of lost property titles (Richardson, 2005). Richard (2004; 2006) has argued that the FTLRP has also caused some uncertainty around tenure and has made the private lending facilities less willing to risk of accepting this land as collateral against financial loans and that the programme has replaced experienced farmers with less experienced ones who are geared towards subsistence production. Cliffe et al (2011) cited in Moyo and Chambati (2013) also downplays the significance of the discriminatory land tenure laws created by the colonial government whilst focusing more on the governance short-comings of the current government. The proponents of the FTLRP have however argued that agricultural productivity was not hampered by the programme but by the effects of the economic sanctions placed against the country soon after the land reform.

The economic collapse that ensued following the FTLRP was immediately attributed to the programme (Richardson, 2005); however the story is way more complex than the generalisations (Scoones et al, 2010: 12). Elich (2006: 280) points out that lasting progress is only through the dismantling of wealth concentrated in the hands of a minority who owned most of the productive lands and the economic empowerment of the majority who remained on very unproductive lands and perennially poverty-stricken. Hence it is of interest to analyse agriculture productivity following the FTLRP.

Agricultural and Productivity following the FTLRP

Research by Bautista and Thomas (1999: 74) highlighted and identified that relatively significant macro-linkages of agricultural growth in Zimbabwe and the result showed food production among smallholder farmers having a very strong GDP multiplier than the traditional export crops dominated by the large scale commercial farmers. Smaller holder farmers face lower opportunity costs of labour than larger commercial farms (Stiglitz, 1988). Spread nationally and laterally smallholder agricultural economic activity stimulates more employment and has a significant effect on livelihoods than large scale commercial farms (Haggblade et al, 1989). This is because the activity is strategically and economically integrated within the densely populated rural areas which mean that multiplier effects would be substantial. Feder (1985) explores the relationship between farm size and productivity and he argues that if labour market imperfection unavoidably render small holder farmers more productive then it might follow that land redistribution (as in the case for Zimbabwe) can stimulate enhanced agricultural productivity and economic growth.

There has however been a significant amount of the work done on the economic effects of the Fast Track Land Reform in Zimbabwe since the launch of the programme in 2000 which has added an informed inference into the discourse. Some researchers have dismissed the programme as a complete failure (Richardson, 2005:77; Cliffe et al 2011) whilst others have argued that thirteen years is too short a period to judge the success or failures of such a radical and comprehensive agrarian revolution (Scoones et al, 2010: 11; Moyo and Chambati, 2013: 33). Kinsey (1998) cited in Elich (2006: 346) concluded that ‘any attempts at comprehensive evaluation of benefits of land reform in less than a generation are ill-advised’. Johnston and Kilby (1975) argued that a development focus on small farms will stimulate rapid and geographically dispersed growth due to labour-intensive linkages with the rural non-farm economy. Mellor (1976) highlighted the potential importance of production linkages pointing to smallholder farmers’ demand for fertilizers, inputs and repair service work provided by rural tradesmen.

The idea here is that smallholder farmers spend their incremental income on labour-intensive rurally-produced goods and hence generating important demand multipliers. Schneider and Gugerty (2011) point to the catalysing effect of productivity growth which produces both direct and indirect effects. Agricultural driven growth generates a larger welfare effect than non-agriculturally driven growth particularly so for the poorest 20% of the world population. Since smaller farms are more labour intensive than the large scale farms, land reform has the long term effect of creating more employment (Elich, 2006). Thus wealth is expected to be cascaded down to the population at large which in turn would spearhead economic growth.

The direct contribution of agricultural growth is through generating higher incomes for farmers (Irz et al, 2001). In theory increasing agricultural production output increases income for the poor families who then increase demand for the goods and services provided by the non-farm rural population. High agricultural output stimulates employment in the rural and urban non-farm sectors through forward and backward linkages (Defourny and Thorbecke, 1994). Higher incomes from farm output in the farm economy creates jobs upstream and downstream on the agricultural and food value chains (Irz et al, 2001) and this increases incomes and employment in the rural economy.

Rural income growth from increased crop production can have multiplicative effects when income is re-spent on local domestic goods and services that would not otherwise have had a market outlet (Delgado et al, 1998). The spin-off effects on local activities from the spending of increased farm incomes are the agricultural growth linkages (Haggblade et al, 1989: 1175). Delgado et al (1998) however argues that it has been difficult to demonstrate the existence of such spin-offs from agricultural growth in Africa since the extra incomes have typically been spent on goods considered to be either imports to the local economies.

Bautista and Thomas (1999: 63) have specifically focused on agricultural growth linkages in Zimbabwe and argued that agricultural growth has indeed been associated with strong labour intensive linkages on the consumption side, increasing the employment and income multiplier effects for both rural and urban sectors. Their study was based on data obtained from 1991 which is ten years after the initial phase of the land reform and a year before the FTLRP. They used the social accounting matrix to investigate and analyse these linkages. Their social accounting matrix-based analysis indicated relatively strong macro-linkages of agricultural growth in Zimbabwe and notably focus on smallholder food production showed a significant GDP multiplier than both the traditional and non-traditional export crops which were dominated by the LSC.

These findings indicate the anticipation of a stronger demand stimulus generated by rising agricultural incomes from the less affluent farm households. Despite these findings it still however remains difficult to find appropriate models for agricultural growth linkages and multiplier effects in Zimbabwe due to insufficient studies into the topic post the FTLRP.

Maize Production in Zimbabwe

Maize production is an important component of food security and livelihood for smallholder farming communities of Zimbabwe. The majority of smallholder farmers grow maize primarily for subsistence using conventional farming methods (Rukuni, 2006; Utete, 2003). Between 1977-1979 and 1985, cereal production in Zimbabwe increased by 80% (FAO, 2004). The production of maize, the country’s principal cereal staple, more than doubled during this period. Following the 1986 harvests Zimbabwe held 1.8 million metric tonnes of maize in national stocks, 3.5 times the highest level achieved during the 1970s.

The largest share of maize production gains were contributed by smallholder farmers who had previously participated only marginally in producing maize for the market. During the 1970s, between 5000-6000 large-scale commercial farmers delivered over 90% of the maize sold in the formal sector market. Approximately 750000 smallholder farmers contributed 5% and 8000 small-scale commercial farmers marketed the remaining 5%. While commercial maize production increased by more than two thirds between 1980 and 1985, smallholder maize production increased threefold (Jayne et al, 2006). From 1985 onwards smallholder farmers started producing over 50% of the country’s maize and delivering over a third of that production to the Grain Marketing Board of Zimbabwe (GMB).

From the beginning of the 1970s to 1986 Zimbabwe’s maize production trends are characterised by extreme variability primarily associated with the incidence of mid-season dry spells and drought, declining harvests during the middle part of the 1970s, followed by a sharp increase in production to record high levels and a significantly rising smallholder sector contribution to national production particularly after the land reform of the early 1980s (FAO, 2004). In 1972 national maize production in Zimbabwe was over 2.3 million metric tonnes and three quarters of this harvested by commercial farmers. While smallholder farmers planted two thirds of Zimbabwe’s maize area, yields were only 16% of commercial sector levels.

However it is important to emphasise that smallholder farmers were mostly concentrated in the specially created Native Reserve areas they had been forced into under the Land Apportionment Act of 1930. The Land Apportionment Act was probably one of the most repressive pieces of legislation by the colonial government of Rhodesia. It entailed that over half of all land in Zimbabwe was exclusively reserved for the white settlers. The settler population only accounted for 2% of the total population (Moyo, 2004). The Land Apportionment Act of 1930 took away the right of indigenous black people of Zimbabwe to purchase land anywhere in the country.

All indigenous people were moved into the Native Reserve Areas which were areas considered unsuitable for intensive agriculture and more than a third of the allocated land was in areas considered to be unsuitable for any agriculture other than livestock rearing (Rukuni, 2006; Moyo and Chambati, 2013)

Table 5: Maize Production Trends in Zimbabwe 1961-2014


Area harvested (ha)

Yield (kg/hectare)

Productivity (tonnes)


Source: FAO (2012)

Figure 7: Maize output trends in Zimbabwe 1961-2014

Source: FAOSTAT: 2014

Between 1972 and 1979 maize production maize production suffered a sustained decline as the war of liberation intensified. Commercial agriculture declined by more than 55% as a result of a 35% decline in crop area and a 30% decline in yields ( FAO). Between 1979 and 1984 both commercial and smallholder production first increased sharply to record levels then declined sharply during the 1982-84 droughts. By 1981, a year after independence commercial maize area planted had increased by more than 50% while smallholder maize area cultivated increased by almost 70% and maize yields increased by almost 50%. By 1986 total smallholder farm maize production increased an additional 55% above the 1981 levels and rising above the large scale commercial farm output (FAO). Smallholder farmers harvested almost 60% of Zimbabwe’s total maize output while commercial sector maize output continued to decline. During the 1970s commercial farmers sold 70-75% of the production to the GMB.

The per capita maize production showed signs of continued decline in the 1990s and this was attributed to significant decline in yields over the years from 1500kg/hectare in the early 1990s to 500kg/hectare in 2000 (Masters, 1991; Government of Zimbabwe, 2002). Agricultural productivity continued to fall in the smallholder sector due to continued pressure on land and land degradation as a result of years of erosive cultivation, declining soil fertility as farmers (Mano, 2006).

Conceptual Framework

The methods and measures for appraisal of land reform in planning, monitoring and evaluation are defined in terms of marginal returns on investment and farm productivity (Cousins and Scoones, 2009). Land redistribution reforms and restructuring of farming land can be justified from a perspective of equity and broader economic growth as well as increased agricultural activity (Deininger, 2003). With respect to equity the insight that access to even small amounts of land can provide justification of the contribution of land reform to poverty reduction. The roots of highly dualist land ownership in most developing countries goes back to a system that discriminated against indigenous populations combined with economic and microeconomic distortions (Binswanger et al, 1995). What this means is that large tracts of land end up being left unused while the landless indigenous populations struggle to survive on very unproductive lands (Heath and Binswanger, 1996) hence the need for equitable redistribution of land.

The land reform impacts on economic performance as access to land which contributes to food security and improvements in well-being as nutrition improves (Dasgupta and Dasgupta, 1997 cited in Binswanger et al, 1995). Land access and ownership can leads to increased productivity and in turn the owners will be able to start making investments on the land leading to asset accumulation and economic growth (Deininger, 2003). The methods and measures for appraisal of redistributive land reform are often defined in terms of marginal returns on investment and productivity (Cousins and Scoones, 2009).

Theoretical Framework

New Institutional Economics versus Neoclassical Economics

There are a number of competing analytical frameworks used in impact assessments of land and agrarian reform, the neoclassical economics whose concerns centres on well-functioning markets and the Pareto-optimal efficiency outcomes (Cousins and Scoones, 2009). The New Institutional Economics frameworks focus on equity and productivity and key concepts are transaction costs, institutions and the inverse relationship and argue that inequitable land distribution can have constrained prospects for economic growth. Under perfect input and credit markets, a gains for its beneficiaries, since they gain an asset (land) that under perfect markets can be used as collateral against financial loans. Just as in most developing countries, markets are imperfect and the FTLRP has been associated with the issue of property rights not being respected which critics have argued that impacts negatively on investments on land and subsequently productivity.

 However evidence shows that the resettled farmers have easier and better access to inputs and government services (Deininger et al., 2002; Moyo, 2006; Scoones et al, 2010), which has the potential to boost productivity on the land.

Redistributive land reforms, while difficult, can be used to influence growth and sustainable development if institutional theories are applied, especially in Sub Saharan Africa. A clear definition of rights, the internalization of costs and rewards and the importance of contracts are can facilitate our understanding of land tenure systems and how they shape societies and influence growth and development.

New Institutional Economics concerns itself with what factors and conditions influence the efficiency of different scales of production. It focuses on transaction costs and institutional factors which affect production in redistributive land reform.

Institutionalists view land as part of the factors of production along with machines and energy. They do not regard these divisions as ways of distributing resources but as ways of creating goods and services for society. One technological aspect of land is that when it is combined with energy and machines, which are governed by the tool-using skills of the society, land can be cultivated for feeding the community and thus increasing contributing to the life process. Diamond (2005) also provides a number of examples of how societies are very inter-connected with their environment, especially land, and how adaptations to changes in land are critical for the survival of the society.

Institutionalists also argue that fragmenting societal rights will not necessarily lead to increased marginal benefits for the individual user if the society has not evolved enough to accommodate that change (Bentsi-Enchill, 1965 cited in Ostrom et al 2005). This is in no way suggesting that nations in Sub-Saharan Africa are not sophisticated in their institutional arrangements with regards to land. It rather implies that approaches for increasing efficient use of land in different societies should not be plunged into existing societies like that of Sub-Saharan Africa without having a good notion of what the existing institutions, where they have evolved from and what course do they seem to be taking for the future. Institutionalists argue that not only is it difficult to parcel out something that belongs to a community, it is difficult to tell if those individuals who are in possession of these clearly defined rights have the best interest of the community at heart and let alone that their collective behavior will asymptotically approach the marginal benefit of the society as a whole. Thus clearly defined property rights are not a necessary or sufficient condition for the increased marginal benefit of the society.

Given the primary objectives of the research and the limited amount of research on the impact of the FTLRP on maize production, the economy as a whole and multiplier effects into the farm and non-farm economies, both descriptive and interpretive research will be employed. The secondary data obtained from the Zimbabwe National Statistics Office, Ministry of Agriculture, African Development Bank, World Bank, IFAO will be analysed.

This analysis of secondary data supports the developing themes identified from earlier research and provides a footing for the development of the topic. The secondary data is from 1961 to 2014 on area planted, yield and production.

Institutional Analysis Development Framework (IAD)

The IAD Framework is used for conducting institutional analysis and helps to organise and identify the main structural variables that are present in all the institutional arrangements (Ostrom, 2005). It is a multi-tier conceptual map which identifies an action arena, patterns of interactions and outcomes and evaluating these outcomes. It relies on some interrelated criteria for assessing the overall performance of Institutional arrangements and these include efficiency and equity, (Ostrom, 2005; McGinnis, 2011) as well as accountability and adaptability. Efficiency focuses on the magnitude of extent of the change in the flow of net benefits associated distribution or redistribution and allocation and reallocation of resources.

Thus when the economy is working efficiently, no redistribution will improve welfare of a group without making someone else worse off as in the case of the Zimbabwe land reform process. The reallocation of land from the minority to the majority might have improved the lives of the majority but story of the whites who lost land and livelihoods also needs further research. Equity considers whether the decision-making process is fair and results in an equitable distribution of resources, whether viewed from the perspective of horizontal or vertical equity (Ostrom, 2005). The land redistribution in Zimbabwe can be classified as fair as it managed to address the inequitable and unfair land ownership pattern created by the Rhodesian colonial government (Elich, 2006; Cousins and Scoones, 2009). Thus whilst economic efficiency dictates that resources should be allocated in a Pareto efficient manner, equity concerns may produce different resource allocations, thus frequent trade-offs between efficiency and equity (Ostrom, 2005). There is also need for adaptability and accountability with any land redistributive process. The quest for equity and accountability need to be supported by transparent, accountable and adaptable institutions.

Time Series analysis

A trend analysis is used to summarise the time series production data and to explain the historic trends in production of maize in Zimbabwe. The analysis is performed using area planted, production and yield data obtained from FAOSTAT. These are taken as the dependent variables and time as the independent variable. Time was included as a trend variable to accommodate certain tendencies such as a constant rate of development over time, technological innovation, use of fertilisers and enhanced harvesting methods by the newly resettled farmers. The major assumption of this model is that past production and productivity trends would change as farmers become well versed in new and innovative ways of farming.

Simple Exponential Smoothing Analysis

Forecasting involves making projections about future performances on the basis of historical and current data (Carter-Hill et al, 2012:372; Gardner and McKenzie, 1985: 1240; 2010: 662). Exponential smoothing is a procedure for continually revising a forecast in the light of a more recent experience (Gardner, 1985: 4; Miller and Liberatore, 1993: 511, Hill-Carter et al, 2012: 374).

In this study the simple exponential forecasting method is used to analyse the dataset. Exponential smoothing model is used to predict the future value of a variable based on the history of that variable (Carter Hill et al. 2012: 375). It is a simple way of calculating a weighted moving average forecast with exponentially declining weights, only the previous forecast, most actual value and value of a smoothing constant are needed to calculate the forecast (McClain, 1988: 451). The value of the constant, α, determines how much of an adjustment or correction will be made in response to the most recent actual value (Carter-Hill et al, 2012). The formula for the exponential forecasting is alpha multiplied by the actual plus one minus alpha multiplied by the previous forecast. The forecast for the next period is a weighted average of the forecast for the current period and the actual realised value in the current period.

Equation: =+ (, where

= Forecast for period t

 Actual data set

= Forecast for previous time period t-1

 Smoothing factor (0-1)

The first step is to calculate the Means Absolute Deviation which is the absolute size of the errors. To calculate the running means average deviation (RMAD) the absolute deviation is first calculated. The absolute deviation is the difference between the actual dataset and the forecast value.


 Absolute deviation

 Actual dataset

 Forecast value

With absolute deviation it is possible to calculate the Running Means Absolute Deviation (RMAD). The RMAD is an average of the difference between the forecast and actual demand. It is the average of the absolute deviation.

RMAD = Σ││/n, where n is the number of periods

Yields increase steadily over time from 1961 and there are year to year departures from trend yield primarily weather-related. The annual maize yield fluctuate above and below the yield trend line over the years primarily in response to weather variability year to year and also a significant decline from 2002 to 2009 following the FTLRP. When forecasting there is need to monitor a forecast to determine when it might be advantageous to change or update the model (Rosegrant et al, 1993). A tracking signal provides a method for doing this by quantifying bias. The most frequently used tracking method is to compute the cumulative forecast error divided by the value of MAD at that point in time:

Tracking Signal = Σ (At-Ft)/MAD

MAD (mean absolute deviation) is a common measure of forecast error. It is easily calculated by adding the absolute value of forecast errors in each period, and taking the average of this total.

A Tracking Signal indicates if the forecast is consistently biased high or low. The movement of the tracking signal is compared to control limits and as long as the tracking signal is within these limits then the forecast is in control. As long as the tracking signal is between –4 and 4, assume the model is working correctly. Values outside this rage indicate that you should reevaluate the model used. The tracking signal for maize production forecast was -.52 which feel within range indicating that the forecast was in control.

Trends from 1995-2010

The time series data pertaining to the maize for the periods five years before, during and five years after the FTLRP indicate fluctuations in production output.

Figure 8: Trends in maize production 1961-2014

The exponential functions were fitted to the time series data of area planted, production and yield of maize. The area under maize cultivation increased significantly from 2005 to 2008 and from 2010 the area harvested for maize began to decline on a backdrop of reduced maize prices and most newly resettled farmers switching to lucrative cash crops such as tobacco. The interesting trend to note also is that the area under maize cultivation experienced fluctuations with decreases from 1975 to 1979 as the liberation in the country intensified.

Figure 9: Forecasting maize output 5 years before, during and after FTLRP

However from 1980 when the country attained independence the area under maize cultivation peaked as the newly elected majority government embarked on the initial phase of the land reform process. Up until the 1990s the land reform in Zimbabwe was a market-based and state-managed process primarily targeting the landlessness, ‘overcrowding’ and land shortages among the rural and urban poor and unemployed (Moyo and Chambati, 2013). Before 1990 the country was working on the premise of the restrictive Lancaster House Agreement which entailed the willing-buyer-willing-seller approach. However most white settler land owners were not willing to sell the land and the Labour Government in Britain reneged on the Lancaster House Agreement and refused to fund the land reform process. The area under maize production plummeted in the period from 1989 to the early 1990s as farmers started focusing more on the more lucrative cash crops such as tobacco and cotton.

The total maize out was 13.27% less than what could have been produced in 2001, the year that the ‘fast track’ land reform policy was formally implemented. In view of the 2002/03 drought, output was 57.44% less and 33.53% less than what could have actually been produced for the 2002 and 2003 seasons respectively. In the 2005 drought season, the total maize production was 41.8% less than what could have been produced without the ‘fast track’ land reform. This may imply that droughts would have been less severe if the ‘fast track’ land reform was not implemented. In 2007, the baseline showed that the nation could have produced almost 48.03% more than what was actually produced. Yield in relation to area planted for maize showed significant fluctuations throughout. The effects of the political instability as a result of the protracted war from 1972 to 1979 show a reduced yield.

If normal weather prevails, a national total of at least 1.2 million hectares of maize should be planted to meet the domestic human consumption requirements of 1.825 million tonnes, on average. Generally, the trend over time has been towards an increasing total maize area planted. Total maize area harvested has remained above 1.317 million hectares since 2001 and has been above a 1990s average of 1.301 million (FAO, 2012). Figure 2.2 below shows that the area harvested peaked in 2005 and 2007 to above 1.7 million hectares. This may be attributed to the effects of the ‘fast track’ land reform which is believed to have expanded communal and smallholder area.

The observed gains in maize area harvested have however not been matched with a corresponding increase in yield. Yield has fallen below the 1990s average of 1.25 tons/ha; with the worst yield being 0.4 tons/ha and 0.33 tons/ha recorded in 2002 and 2008, respectively. The effects of declining yield are also reflected in the lower levels of output. Since 2001, Zimbabwe has not produced maize that is sufficient to meet domestic requirements. However from 2014 the country’s maize output was slightly above the levels pre-land reform (Ministry of Agriculture Zimbabwe, 2014).

The fluctuations in output and yield experienced from 2000 can be explained by a number of factors which include an unstable macro-economic environment which limited access to inputs by the newly resettled farmers, the unstable political environment, drought from 2001 to 2004, and restricted access to technology and financial backing (Elich, 2006: 336). There is no disguising the fact that the change in the country’s agrarian structure had a pronounced impact on maize production and the economy as a whole. That being said there were political factors that had a bearing on the country’s agrarian revolution and the observed outcomes such as the economic sanctions which limited access to financial institutions which in turn affected output (Moyo and Chambati, 2013: 343).

In Zimbabwe maize is mostly grown in the northeast in the agro-ecological zone classified as Natural Region 2 This region is associated with 75-80% of the planted area assigned to crop production in the country (Whitlow, 1979: 235; Richardson, 2004: 77). Maize is the primary staple food crop and takes up approximately half of the agricultural land in Zimbabwe (Sachikonye, 2005: 36). Temperature and rainfall are the most important factors which have a bearing on the growth and development of maize production in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe’s main rainfall season starts from mid-November to end of March (Climate Handbook of Zimbabwe, 1981). The months of December, January and February are the peak rainfall months and the mean annual rainfall ranges from about 200mm in the Southern parts of the country to about 300mm in the Eastern Highlands which falls in the Natural Region 2 (Climate Handbook of Zimbabwe, 1981).

Figure 10: Forecasting Maize Output to 2020

Compound Annual Growth Rate Analysis

The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) model is the average growth rate over a period of several years. This research uses the CAGR model because over a number of years it is a better indication of trend than a single years’ growth which may be atypically good or bad (Jolliffe, 1986). The CAGR is the rate at which an investment grows over a period of years taking into account the effect of annual compounding. Thus it is used to measure performance over periods of time and helps describe a long term trend and has the effect of smoothing out period fluctuations (Hamilton, 1994).

The formula for calculating the CAGR is,



EV stands for Ending Value

SV stands for Starting Value

n stands for count of periods/years

The compound annual growth rates of maize in Zimbabwe were computed using Excel with production, yield and area data obtained from FAO. The results showed that the overall production compound growth rate of maize decreased by 8.16% before the FTLRP and also decreased by 4.37% during the FTLRP from 2000-2004.

However the period post the FTLRP from 2005-2010 the compound growth rate of maize increased by 4.51%. Improvement is yield per hectare is an important factor in the increase of production of maize. In Zimbabwe the period five years before the

FTLRP showed an 8.74% decline in maize yield, a 5.37% decrease during and interestingly an 8.75% compound annual growth rate the period five years after the FTLRP from 2005-2010. The area planted for maize increased by 0.63% the five year period before the land reform, increased by 1.07% the period during the FTLRP but however declined by 3.9% the period five years after the land reform programme in Zimbabwe. The decline in area planted for maize is attributed to depressed maize prices during that period and newly resettled farmers switching to more lucrative cash crops such as tobacco and cotton.

The prices of maize in Zimbabwe increased by 12%, 10% and 4% in 2002, 2003 and 2004 respectively. The factors that affected maize prices during those periods were mainly consumer preferences, drought, and government policy and decreased output. In 2010 the landed price of maize from neighbouring South Africa was US$219/tonne and local farmers in Zimbabwe could only produce at a profit if they sold their maize produce at US$265/tonne (GMAZ, 2010). From 2001-2014 the area under maize cultivation decreased by 3.2%, production output also decreased by 0.36% but yield increased by 1.76%.

Table 6: Production, yield and area compound growth rate of maize pre, during and post FTLRP

1994-1999- 5 yrs Pre-FTLRP
2000-2004- During FTLRP
2005-2010- 5 yrs Post-FTLRP
Overall- 1994-2010
2001-2014- FTLRP to date

It is evident from the comparative analysis that the performance of maize post FTLRP is better in terms of production, yield and area planted. The area under maize cultivation decreased by 3.9% after the FTLRP but both production output and yield increased by 4.51% and 8.75% respectively the period five years after the land reform. The period during the FTLRP from 2000-2004 showed a 1.07% increase in area under maize cultivation but a marked decline in output and yield of 4.37% and 5.37% respectively. The increase in land under maize cultivation following the redistribution of land did not immediately correspond with increased productivity and yield. The can be attributed to a number of factors mainly lack of inputs, inadequate funding from government, and the newly resettled farmers still adjusting.

Conclusion and recommendations

Summary of Findings

The study partially fulfilled its aim of analysing the impact of the FTLRP on productivity and the effect of expanded area planted as part of the country’s maize production strategy using data on output, yield and area planted obtained from FAO, Commercial Farmers Union of Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe Ministry of Agriculture. The results of the compound annual growth rates reveal a decline in yield the five year period before and during the FTLRP and an increase in yield compound annual growth five years after the programme. The production compound annual growth rate also decline five years before and during and showed signs of increase five years after the FTLRP.

The simple exponential forecast however revealed overall projections of decreasing output and this is because when using a simple exponential forecast historical data is used to make projections about the future output. The period after 2000 is a period of declining output owing to the droughts of 2001/2002 and 2004/2005 seasons and inevitably the FTLRP. The actual data analysis also revealed declines in both productivity and yield through the period from 1995 to 2010. The compound annual growth rate of area planted for maize increased by around 2.7% from 1995 to 2004 and declined by 3.9% five years after the FTLRP. Using the compound annual growth rate analysis, both yield and output seem to point to a relationship with expanded area under maize cultivation.

There is evidence from previous research to suggest that output per hectare increases with reduced farm sizes (Cornia, 1985; Elich, 2005). This is because labour is cheap and readily available compared to other factors of production. The observed variable with regards to expanded land use for maize is that of farmers starting to allocate more land to tobacco and other cash crops where profits are higher and less allocated to maize production. The findings from this study are inconclusive in terms of determining relationship between expanded area use and yield or productivity five years before, during and five years after the FTLRP. It is not possible to point to the decline in yield or productivity as directly linked to expanded area under maize cultivation as farmers reduced the area under maize planted to plant other crops. If the farmers had specifically reduced farm sizes to concentrate solely on producing maize on smaller plots without allocating more land to other crops then it would have been possible to determine the inverse relationship between farm size and maize production per unit of land.

Policy Recommendations

This research in many ways achieved what it set out to do. The results revealed that there is no exact relationship between increased yield and expanded land use and production. Maize production is the principal staple cereal and a very important component of food security and livelihoods for most farming communities in Zimbabwe in particular the smallholder sector. Maize is primarily grown for subsistence but has the potential to increase incomes, improve nutrition and reduce poverty. Thus policy shifts and investments in research is required to find ways of improving yields to address the food security challenges of the exponential projected diminishing yields.

Food security concerns and pressure on agricultural land will continue to accelerate if maize yields continue to keep up with the demands of the ever increasing world population. The need for institutional commitment and support through the provision of inputs, financing, infrastructure and education to increase awareness and promote efficient and sustainable use of the land resource is crucial. The government and other stakeholders can facilitate an agricultural sector that is characterised by long term incentives for maize production and foster institutions that will sustain and enable growth in overall agricultural production through the provision of technical and advocacy services, research and agricultural extension support, farm management training.

Recommendations for further research

As successful as this study was in adding to the limited existing literature and data on the issue of FTLRP it has to be noted that this very point posed as a huge limitation. This is mainly because this study relied heavily on secondary data as it was desk based and lack of research and up to date data impacted the validity of the projections. This is no way invalidates the study but it serves to show that there is a great need for more research into the topic focusing on efficiency, equity and livelihoods to determine impact. The study only focused on the maize sector as a solitary sector and the rest of the agricultural commodity sectors such as soya-beans, sorghum, tobacco and other crops are not considered. Future research will need to focus on a multi-sectoral approach that takes into account the impact of other crops and agricultural commodities which will allow for a more comprehensive analysis. It would also be useful to do a comparative study of maize with a cash crop such tobacco or another food crop such as sorghum or soya-beans so that there can be a collation.

As a closing note there is a need to acknowledge that land reform is not only about economic necessity but equity, fairness and justice. The FTLRP was a direct response to the unfair and unjust distribution of land created by a system of colonial accumulation by expropriation. The land reform in Zimbabwe was a necessary and inevitable policy trajectory to address the inequalities created by this colonial system of the past and sought to empower the displaced indigenous population. Thus to paint the entire exercise as economically illogical whilst ignoring other factors such as persistent droughts and the effects of the economic sanctions imposed following the land reform programme in 2001 would only discredit the necessity of reversing the racially-biased land tenure systems of the colonial past.


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