I’ve recently returned from Zimbabwe, visiting our research sites in Mvurwi, Matobo and Masvingo. The rains have started, as always tentatively, but much better than last year, when El Nino struck. Its consequences are still being felt, with water tables yet to be replenished and dam levels dangerously low (Mtirikwi reputedly at 5% as the sugar estates in the Lowveld try to keep going). Many people in the dryland communal areas in the south of the country are relying on handouts, but at the same time are busy preparing their fields for the new season.
With the ZANU-PF congress in Masvingo this week, political intrigue runs as high as ever. How will the Lacoste and G40 factions fare? In what way will the war veterans intervene? What hints will the president give about succession plans? There have been some good end-of-year round-ups of the political scene, reflecting in particular on the build up to the 2018 elections (which will no doubt occupy most of 2017). As ever Brian Raftopolous offers an insightful piece, and there have been others speculating on the trials and tribulations of coalitions of different sorts, between either ZANU-PF or opposition groupings.
Many of these themes connecting drought, food security, land, farming and politics have been the focus of blogs this year. Zimbabweland was originally established in 2011 to debate the issues emerging from the book, Zimbabwe’s Land Reform: Myths and Realities. Since then it has extended to many more themes, but always with the intention of discussing the latest evidence-based research. In our post-truth world, where statements can be made without any basis, and transferred to millions via social media, it is vital that there are fora that can foster effective debate. The intention is to debate the facts on the ground, and encourage a more informed policy discussion. Sadly 16 years after land reform in Zimbabwe we still remain far from this.
Anyway, below are listed the top 20 blogs by views from 2016. Many readers of the blog come to older posts, and the ‘new agricultural entrepreneurs’ ones remain seriously popular. There have been over 60,000 views this year, which is rather amazing, and you’ve come from over 150 countries!
Do sign up to receive an email alert when the next post appears in 2017, and happy reading over the festive season!
- View What will Brexit mean for Africa?
- View Zimbabwe’s political uncertainty continues
- View Small towns in Zimbabwe are booming thanks to land reform
- View Empowering chickens: why Bill Gates’ plan may be flawed
- View Drought politics in southern Africa
- View Riots in Zimbabwe: don’t mess with the informal sector
- View Small towns and economic development: lessons from Zimbabwe
- View Why tractors are political in Africa
- View #Hashtag activism: will it make a difference in Zimbabwe?
- View Chinese engagement in African agriculture is not what it seems
- View Mvurwi: from farm worker settlement to booming business centre
- View Why we should stop talking about ‘desertification’
- View Will white farmers in Zambia feed Zimbabwe?
- View How land reform is transforming a small town in southern Zimbabwe
- View The politics of reform in Zimbabwe
- View Does land reform increase resilience to drought?
- View Food security in Zimbabwe: why a more sophisticated response is needed
- View Chatsworth: from railway siding to growing small town
- View The El Niño drought hits livestock hard in Zimbabwe
- View The sugar rush in southern Africa