Fast Track Land Reform and Agricultural Productivity in Zimbabwe
In the year 2000, the government of Zimbabwe launched the Fast Track Land Reform Program (FTLRP) as part of its ongoing land reform and resettlement program. It seeks to address the racially skewed land distribution pattern inherited at independence in 1980. This paper used data on beneficiaries of the program and a control group of communal farmers to investigate the program’s impact on the agricultural productivity of its beneficiaries. The data revealed significant differences between the two groups, not only in household and parcel characteristics, but also in input usage. The results suggest that FTLRP beneficiaries are more productive than communal farmers. The source of this productivity differential was found to lie in differences in input usage. In addition, we found that FTLRP beneficiaries gained a productivity advantage not only from the fact that they used more fertilizer per hectare, but also from attaining a higher rate of return from its use. Furthermore we found evidence that soil conservation, among other factors, had a significant impact on productivity. Our results also confirmed the constraints imposed on agricultural productivity by poverty, suggesting that policies aimed at alleviating poverty will have a positive impact on agricultural productivity.
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