Opportunities for and constraints on crop production within Zimbabwe's fast-track resettlement programme: a case study of fair Range Estate, Chiredzi District, South Eastern Zimbabwe
Chaumba, Joseph A.
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The government of Zimbabwe started implementing its fast track resettlement programme in July 2000, the objective being to accelerate both land acquisition and land redistribution. This programme witnessed a massive movement of people from various localities into mainly large-scale commercial farms in search of agricultural land. Under this programme, people were settled under the A1 model (which involves villages and land use pattern similar to those found in communal areas) as well as the A2 model, which involves commercial farming. This study investigates, documents and analyses the opportunities and constraints currently being faced by newly resettled crop production farmers in one example of an A1 model resettlement project (Fair Ranch Estate in Masvingo Province). A questionnaire was used to gather data on livelihood sources, income, assets and also aspects of the associational life of crop production farmers. Seventy households were interviewed, and a number of key informant interviews were undertaken with both government officials and the local leadership. The greatest opportunity that A1 crop production farmers in Fair Range Estate experienced was the fact that they now have access to land that they can call their own, without having to go through the market to try to acquire such land. In terms of crop production, however, farmers in Fair Range Estate face a number of challenges and constraints: they lack adequate access to tillage and livestock; the supply of inputs is inadequate; generally negative socio economic conditions prevailing in the country have led to sharp increases in prices of all basic commodities, including inputs such as fertilisers and seeds; they lack tenure security; the amount of rainfall received in the area is generally not sufficient for crop production; and many lack crop production skills. Measures to reverse this decline must include the availability of foreign currency to buy spare parts for tractors, rebuilding of the national herd, which was greatly affected by both drought and the disturbance of commercial agriculture as a result of the controversial land reform programme. Fuel should also become more readily available, and urgent policy measures be put in place to revamp institutional frameworks in the agricultural sector to make them more farmer-oriented.