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Land Tenure, Agrarian Structure, and Comparative Land Use Efficiency in Zimbabwe: Options for Land Tenure Reform and Land Redistribution

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  • Roth, Michael J.
  • Bruce, John W.

Abstract

Zimbabwe reached a crucial crossroads in its land reform with the expiration of the Lancaster House Constitution in April 1990, which opened the door for policy debate on alternative land-redistribution options. Proponents of the land reform have aggressively called for an expansion of the resettlement program to help redress the unequal distribution of land resources and to rectify acute land scarcity in communal areas. Opponents of rapid and substantial land reform have emphasized the superior efficiency of the commercial farming sector and the adverse consequences that a substantially expanded resettlement sector would have on agricultural output and the balance of trade. Many key questions lie at the heart of the land policy debate. First, what tenure arrangements might best serve farmers in the different sectors-communal, commercial, and resettlement-and how might they be instituted to provide equitable access, secure tenure, and flexibility in the face of changing economic conditions? Second, what legal framework ought to be instituted to facilitate the movement of land between farmers and enterprises within the system and what outcomes would be expected in terms of the distribution of agricultural landholdings among individuals and groups in society? Third, how would the process of land reform influence output, trade, and income distribution? Specifically, should land reform continue, and if so, what form should it take? What is the comparative efficiency of production in the commercial and communal sectors, and what gains or losses might be anticipated from resettlement? What legislative, institutional, and market reforms are needed to complement resettlement and to resolve the problems of land resource degradation in communal areas? These and other questions serve to focus this study.

Suggested Citation

  • Roth, Michael J. & Bruce, John W., 1994. "Land Tenure, Agrarian Structure, and Comparative Land Use Efficiency in Zimbabwe: Options for Land Tenure Reform and Land Redistribution," Research Papers 12750, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Land Tenure Center.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:uwltrp:12750
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.12750
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Binswanger, Hans P. & Elgin, Miranda, 1988. "What are the Prospects for Land Reform?," 1988 Conference, August 24-31, 1988, Buenos Aires, Argentina 183168, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    2. Bruce, John W., 1986. "Land Tenure Issues In Project Design And Strategies For Agricultural Development In Sub-Saharan Africa," LTC Papers 292568, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Land Tenure Center.
    3. Rohrbach, David D., 1989. "The Economics of Smallholder Maize Production in Zimbabwe: Implications for Food Security," Food Security International Development Papers 54060, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    4. Carter, Michael R, 1984. "Identification of the Inverse Relationship between Farm Size and Productivity: An Empirical Analysis of Peasant Agricultural Production," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(1), pages 131-145, March.
    5. Riddell, James C. & Dickerman, Carol, 1986. "Country Profiles Of Land Tenure: Africa 1986," LTC Papers 292567, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Land Tenure Center.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bruce, John W., 1998. "Country Profiles Of Land Tenure: Africa, 1996," Research Papers 12759, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Land Tenure Center.
    2. Thwaites, R.N. & Carter, J.L. & Norman, P.L. (ed.), 2004. "COMMUNITY BASED RESOURCE PLANNING - Studies from Zimbabwe and Northern Australia," Monographs, Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, number 114055.

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