The Situation of Commercial Farm Workers after Land Reform in Zimbabwe



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Land category

1980
ha(m)

1997
ha(m)

2002
ha(m)

LSCFa (white-owned)

15.5

12.1

1b

LSCF (A2 model)

--

--

2.0

cCA

16.4

16.4

16.4

dSSCFA

1.4

1.4

1.4

Resettlement

--

3.6

11

State farms

0.3

0.8

0.6

National parks

6.0

6.0

6.0


aLarge-scale commercial farming area

bApproximation

cCommunal area

dSmall-scale commercial farming area
Source: Zimbabwe government, 1998, various press reports, 2002

In the 1990s, on the whole, less urgency was attached to resolving the land question. This was perplexing in view of the earlier impetus and the expiry of the restrictive clauses of the Lancaster House constitution in 1990 (Palmer, 1990; Adams, 2003). Less than 20,000 new settlers received land between 1990 and 1997, a significant slow-down in land reform. By 1997 a total of 71,000 households had been resettled on 3.6 million hectares, a far cry from the original target of 162,000 households. By the mid-1990s, about 500 indigenous commercial farmers had graduated into fully-fledged commercial farmers. About 80 per cent of them had bought farms with their own resources while the remainder rented government leasehold farms (Zimbabwe government, 1998). The official explanation for the slow-down in reform in the 1990s was that land acquisitions through the ’willing seller, willing buyer’ approach had become more expensive. The approach also significantly limited the scope of matching land supply with the demand for resettlement.







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