New research from Zimbabwe will be shared at a double panel session at the UK African Studies Association on Wednesday this week. This is being held at the University of Sussex on 10 September between 9 and 12.30 (with a break!). The session has been organised by Gareth James of Edinburgh University, and I will chair.
Zimbabwe’s land reform that unfolded from 2000 has been intensely controversial, and remain so. But 14 years on there is a wider array of research to draw from in order to make more balanced and informed conclusions on outcomes and implications.
The work published in Zimbabwe’s Land Reform: Myths and Realities, showed how some farmers who gained land through the land reform in Masvingo did remarkably well – accumulating, investing and improving production. Others have pointed to the ‘tobacco boom’ that has brought significant riches to those in the Highveld tobacco areas. Such successes have not universally been the case however. Land in some areas remains poorly utilised, some larger scale farmers have failed to invest, and political elites have captured land but not put it into production.
The panel, “New narratives and emerging issues in the Zimbabwe land debate”, will provide an opportunity to reflect on new research conducted by Zimbabwean and European researchers in the last few years in different parts of the country. The six papers that will be presented and discussed are listed below.
- Patience Mutopo – Ethnographic Reflections on the Land Reform and Rural Development in Mwenezi District, Zimbabwe
- Gareth James – Zimbabwe’s Fast Track Land Reform: Smallholder Land Use and Production Patterns in Shamva, Hwedza and Makoni.
- Grasian Mkodzongi – The Political Economy of Mineral Resource Extraction after Zimbabwe’s Fast Track Land Reform Programme (FTLRP): The case of Mhondoro Ngezi District.
- Marleen Dekker – Navigating through Times of Scarcity: The Intensification of a Gift-giving Economy after Dollarization in old Resettlement Areas in Zimbabwe.
- Leila Sinclair-Bright – Land, labour and kin: continuity and change in a new resettlement area in Zimbabwe
- Sheila Chikulo – Emerging market discourses in a changing ‘agrarian economy’? The case of the fresh vegetable markets in Zimbabwe.
I hope to see some Zimbabweland readers there! Those who cannot make it, expect a report afterwards on the blog.