Zimbabwe's Land and Agrarian Policy: A Sustainable Livelihoods Approach
Zimbabwe’s land and agrarian policy since 1980: A Sustainable Livelihoods Approach By Tigere Chagutah Troutbeck Inn Nyanga, 5 Sept. 2007
Introduction Zimbabwe’s Land/Agrarian Reform Policy Since 1980 Policy was predicated on the obligation of government to meet the economic, social and political aspirations of a newly independent majority 1980 – 1996 The most prominent approach used in Zimbabwe was the market-based approach Other approaches included negotiated transfers, expropriation and, A largely spontaneous movement to own land by the rural poor was co-opted by the government at the turn of the millennium, resulting in enactment of legislation that legalised compulsory acquisition of underutilised land for resettling the landless majority The Sustainable Livelihoods Approach People centred poverty reduction strategy that is based on a multi-dimensional understanding of people’s lives and lays emphasis on goals of poverty reduction, empowerment and promotion of increased security of livelihoods for the poor. Inadequate attention has been paid to the complexity of rural livelihoods and the multiple dimensions of rural poverty. Poverty is seen in a holistic manner emphasising the livelihood circumstances of the poor, their lack of secure conditions of life, including their asset status, the activities in which they engage in, the threats they face and the encouraging or discouraging character of the institutional context within which their livelihood strategies unfold.
Livelihoods Among many others, Ellis (2000) provides a clearer understanding of the concept of livelihoods: “ A livelihood comprises the assets (natural, physical, human, financial and social capital), the activities and the access to these (mediated by institutions and social relations) that together determine the living gained by the individual or household” (2000:10) The assets or capitals, it is argued are the basis on which the people construct complex livelihood portfolios Natural capital comprises the land, water and biological resources that are utilised by people to generate means of survival. Physical capitals is created by economic production processes, it includes buildings, roads, irrigation lands, tools and machinery. Human capital is the labour that is available to the household its education, skills and health. It is enhanced by investment in education and training as well as by the skills acquired through pursuing one or more occupations. Financial capital is the stock of money to which the household has access to. This could be in the form of savings and access to credit in form of loans. Social capital is ‘reciprocity within communities and between households based on trust deriving from social ties’ Asset holding is highly dynamic as people engage in trade offs between assets to sustain a livelihood. Policy and Institutional Framework
ZIMBABWE’S LAND REFORM POLICY The first decade Lancaster House Constitution - Market based land acquisition D riven by the market Land acquired was unevenly spread across administrative regions and agro-ecological zones most land offered was in arid and agriculturally unproductive regions, and lacking in infrastructural development The State also held some vast tracts of land suitable for livestock and wildlife Policy placed too much emphasis on core agricultural activities with little recognition of other livelihoods approaches such as CBNRM Beneficiary selection was state directed with very little self-selection and participatory approaches including other stakeholders Building of bridges, schools through the DDF, provision of health facilities, water infrastructure, development of growth points for provision of social services and infrastructure enhanced the assets through which people could fashion out their livelihoods Post settlement support included agricultural services support packages (extension, credit and marketing) to provide development and working capital eg the AFC through its Farm Input Credit scheme
The first decade cont. Land Acquisition Act of 1985 and the State’s right of first refusal To remedy the failing market mechanism to acquiring land for resettlement the State redefined the ‘willing buyer- willing seller’ aspect by enforcing its right of first refusal. CONPI’s issued increased overtime (land being offered was still deemed inappropriate, small and isolated) Necessitated by the fact that policy recognised the obligation to provide physical capital and infrastructure for human capital before resettling people State also desired large tracts of contiguous land to allow for resettlement of whole villages or large groups of people from same area – recognition of social capital Another aspect of recognition of social capital was the reservation of cooperative schemes for the young and unemployed, ex-combatants and ex-farm workers: the social cohesion among these groups would make for effective livelihood enterprises anchored on agricultural production
The second decade Land Acquisition Act of 1992 – Land expropriation/Compulsory acquisition Following recognition of the failure of market mechanism to deliver appropriate and sizeable land for resettlement vis a vis the government's wish to acquire tracts of land that would allow for provision of basic infrastructure the state led to a policy shift towards compulsory acquisition Land expropriation brought new challenges of how to effectively identify appropriate land for acquisition and redistribution leading to a decentralised system of identification which increased the role of local and district level institutions in land reform The identification process was however limited by absence of a land management information system and government had no capacity to make complex land identification review decisions to guide effective acquisition, not only limiting government itself but ability for decision making among local actors and institutions Decentralised was adopted in the late 1990’s to address concerns of transparency, the system included an expanded role for local government and traditional leaders, and institutions thus recognising the mediatory function of these institutions in sustenance of rural livelihoods Beneficiary selection was informed by, among other criteria, possession of cattle, Age, marital status, employment status and gender showing a recognition that rural livelihoods were based on other assets or capitals and not strictly on core agricultural production, and these other capitals were essential for diversification Negotiated land transfers 1997 - 1999 An effective negotiation strategy towards more effective land acquisition, recognising the centrality of multi-stakeholder participation was never realised in Zimbabwe. Initiatives were slow to come and were overtaken in 2000 by the fast track process. For instance, the Cabinet Committee on Resettlement and Development (CRD) and the government-donors’ consultative forum approved a plan aimed at combining a state-led land acquisition programme with a market led alternative approach, involving various stakeholders in both models. But this process had collapsed over wider political conflicts by 2000.
The third decade FTLR – Constitutional Amendments No 16 & no 17 In 2000 land occupations were condoned and co-opted, and the controlled towards the official FTLRP Distributed about 9 million Ha to more than 150,000 families Broadened access to land (physical capital) and the rights of various social segments A number of questions still remain on security of rights and access to land, while some people were resttled in areas lacking in physical and social service delivery infrastructure Absence of credit and agronomy training in the earlier stages meant also that livelihoods were impacted The occurance of successive drought has caused resettled farmers to diversify, however policy views such diversification activities as hunting, gold panning as illegal More recently, there has been a trend towards provision of inputs and credit thus enhancing livelihoods and increasing flexibilty and options for trade offs between the diferent capitals The un-coordinated resettlement of people has resulted in breaking up of social bonds, while movement into areas with no formal and socially constructed informal infrastructure has led to a reduction in the dynamism of rural livelihoods