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Title: Searching for a new rural development narrative : questioning Zimbabwe's small-family farm approach to land reform (1980-2003)
Author: Thebe, Vusilizwe.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3516 7159
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2007
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Two and a half decades of land reforms in Zimbabwe completely changed the country's agricultural landscape. The prominent features of the new landscape were the small-family farms, which were created from the country's commercial farming sector. While the Zimbabwean process has been looked at as something unique, the process reflected previous colonial rural development policies and what had been done elsewhere in other developing countries. While Zimbabwe is considered an agriculture-based country, sixty percent of the country is semi-arid and classified as suited for extensive cattle ranching. Livelihoods in these regions are highly diversified and are heavily reliant on non-farm, and more often non-rural sources of income. Livelihood diversification is particularly pronounced for households in Gumede. This thesis analyses rural development policy formation processes, and in particular processes of land reforms in the country, including the continued commitment by the government and other stakeholders to the small-family farm model. By problematising rural development policies in Zimbabwe, from 1980 to 2003, the analysis adopts a broad historical and stakeholder approach, and views the country's land reform policy processes as negotiated by various stakeholders with different backgrounds, ideologies, motives and power. These stakeholders engaged in lobbying and alliance formation during the policy process. The approach adopted for the analysis of the country's rural development policies is therefore grounded on stakeholders' accounts, including those of communities, which are affected by the policy, and on the need to understand the perspective of these stakeholders. The analysis revealed that through lobbying and alliance creation, stakeholders were able to build their power bases. Those that were more successful in alliance formation became more powerful and managed to push for their position to be adopted. The study concludes that, the policy was guided by certain assumptions that have dominated rural development policy planning elsewhere and the country's political history, and reflected the motives and visions of certain stakeholders, which did not reflect rural reality in the whole of the country. The thesis therefore advocates for a search for a new rural development narrative that will move away from assumption about the viability of small-family farms.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available