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Land reform at the margins: Livestock, access to grazing and land reform in Matobo district, Zimbabwe

Venue: PLAAS Boardroom
Date: 2 May 2017
Time: 13:30 to 14:30

Presenter: Tapiwa Chatikobo, PhD Candidate, PLAAS

Most commentators argue that land reform has failed in the dry parts of Zimbabwe’s Matabeleland. They argue that land reform models implemented in this region – where livestock production predominates – are designed mainly for crop rather than livestock production, thus failing to improve ‘pastoral’ livelihoods. Drawing on life stories of A1 beneficiaries in Matobo district, this presentation challenges some of these simplistic narratives in the existing literature on land reform in this region, where political, social and agro-ecological conditions are also important. The presenter will unveil the impacts of land reform on the dynamics of accumulation, social reproduction and social differentiation in Matabeleland after 17 years of its implementation. I argue that a new class structure is emerging in these new resettlement areas, driven by both crop production and livestock production. The preliminary findings suggest that a group of farmers are ‘accumulating from below’ through petty commodity production. In addition, there are others who are now ‘landlords’ who gained vast tracts of land, but with limited resources to invest in production. Accumulation in livestock production, however, is constrained by several factors, including the size of land received through land reform. I conclude by considering policy implications for land reform models in the dry parts of southern Africa.

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