Rangarirai Gavin Muchetu is a research fellow with the Sam Moyo African Institute for Agrarian Studies based in Harare, Zimbabwe. He is also a recent PhD graduate (March 2020) of Doshisha University (Global Studies) in Kyoto, where he is also a post-doctoral fellow. He is passionate about analysing the growth trajectory, opportunities and constraints in the agrarian commodity exchange system, land use, food security, productivity, woman land rights, youth unemployment. His PhD focused on agricultural cooperative development in Japan and Zimbabwe. Rangarirai is a YARA member and attended the 2017 inaugural conference at the University of Western Cape.
Peasant Differentiation and Cooperative Development: From Alexander Chayanov to Sam Moyo
As scholarship incessantly engages in debates to resolve various aspects of the classic and contemporary agrarian questions, for Southern Africa, where the realities of radical land reforms manifest, it has become ever more vital to understand the nature and character of the resulting agrarian structures. Recent literature reveals the dominance of the peasantry with limited access to finance, inputs and outputs markets, especially in the post-land reform countries. In this respect, agricultural producers are forced to engage in collective bargaining through such things as informal supply and marketing groups to reduce transaction costs. In this article, we peruse the conditions necessary for the formation of formal and sustainable agricultural cooperative in rural areas. We do this from two (theoretical and empirical) fronts. First, we analysed Alexander Chayanov’s theory of peasant cooperatives in which he argued that there exist six different classes. These classes played different roles in the formation, maintenance and sustainability of agricultural cooperatives. The classes converged into two major classes, capitalist and market-oriented farmers. Agrarian structures with higher proportions of market-oriented farmers were ideal for cooperative formation because capitalist farmers had less motivation to be in cooperatives. Secondly, using data collected from Zimbabwe’s Goromonzi district through a household survey, we analyse the Fast Track Land Reform Program’s resultant agrarian structure using factor and cluster analysis. Our data produced five different classes within the peasantry; three of these had statistical and significant differences across settlement models. The data converged towards Moyo’s (2009) tri-modal national agrarian structure theory which had three basic classes. Therefore, the article provides how Chayanov’s bi-modal theory of peasant cooperatives can be re-conceptualized within a tri-modal post land reform agrarian structure in Zimbabwe. Our examination of data revealed that the resultant agrarian structure after the FTLRP has a high potential for the formation of sustainable agricultural cooperatives.
Affiliation: Sam Moyo African Institute for Agrarian Studies