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Zimbabwe's Land Reform


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Ten years after the land invasions of 2000, this book provides the first full account of the consequences of these dramatic events. This land reform overturned a century-old pattern of land use, one dominated by a small group of large-scale commercial farmers, many of whom were white. But what replaced it?

This book challenges five myths through the examination of the field data from Masvingo province:

Myth 1 Zimbabwean land reform has been a total failure
Myth 2 The beneficiaries of Zimbabwean land reform have been largely political 'cronies'
Myth 3 There is no investment in the new resettlements
Myth 4 Agriculture is in complete ruins creating chronic food insecurity
Myth 5 The rural economy has collapsed
By challenging these myths, and suggesting alternative policy narratives, this book presents the story as it has been observed on the ground: warts and all. What comes through very strongly is the complexity, the differences, almost farm by farm: there is no single, simple story of the Zimbabwe land reform as sometimes assumed by press reports, political commentators, or indeed much academic study.

Ian Scoones, Professorial Fellow, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, with co-authors Nelson Marongwe, Blasio Mavedzenge, Jacob Mahenehene, Felix Murimbarimba and Chrispen Sukume.

Zimbabwe: Weaver Press
Southern Africa (South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland and Botswana): Jacana


All this provides rich evidence and nuanced assessments of the dynamics and complexities of social, economic, and political patterns evolving in the new resettlements in Masvingo Province. AFRICAN STUDIES REVIEW

Triumphs in going beyond the sensationalism and the myths. [...] It is a book that every bureaucrat in the region should read. It is a book that demands the attention of everyone who wants to know the "true", unfinished story of Zimbabwe's land reform. [...] Fascinating, exhaustive and immensely readable. MAIL & GUARDIAN (South Africa)

It required the eloquence and boldness of Ian Scoones et al. to produce this impressive empirical study on the impact of Zimbabwe's controversial Fast Track Land Programme. AFRICAN AFFAIRS

Raises important issues that will trigger a sound land policy in Zimbabwe with talk of a nation-wide land audit. NEW AGRICULTURALIST


First Published: 18 Nov 2010
13 Digit ISBN: 9781847010247
17 line drawing illustrations
Pages: 304
Size: 21.6 x 13.8
Binding: Paperback
Imprint: James Currey
BIC Class: GTB

Details updated on 05 Oct 2015


  • 1  Preface & Acknowledgements
  • 2  Livelihoods & land reform in Zimbabwe
  • 3  Land reform in Masvingo province
  • 4  New land, new people, new livelihoods
  • 5  Investing in the land
  • 6  The new farmers: agricultural & livestock production
  • 7  Labour: the new farm workers
  • 8  Real markets: the changing political economy of agricultural commodities
  • 9  Livelihoods beyond the farm: off-farm income & migration
  • 10  Territory, authority & social dynamics
  • 11  Livelihood pathways & economic linkages: emerging impacts of land reform
  • 12  Lessons from Zimbabwe's land reform