Access to inputs in Zimbabwe : Changes since the Fast Track Land Reform Programme

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The purpose of this study is to make clear how resettled and communal farmers have access to inputs for growing maize, tobacco and cotton in three different natural regions in Zimbabwe, and how much of these crops they grow. This is examined for two years, 2000 and 2012, to see whether and how the situation for farmers in Zimbabwe has changed over the last decade. The reasons for choosing the particular natural regions and the years 2000 and 2012 are explained later. Agriculture is a very prominent sector in the Zimbabwean economy with respect to employment, livelihood of many Zimbabweans, food security, but also economic growth. Studying how inputs are available for Zimbabwean farmers, as conducted in this thesis, is therefore relevant and important. If agricultural production falls short the country will be confronted with serious troubles in several ways, as has been the case in Zimbabwe over the last decade (IFAD, 2010). It is important to find out why exactly the production falls short. Suggestions are that the key problem is the availability and distribution of inputs. It is known that Zimbabwe struggles with input-issues, but these struggles seem to vary for different crops, as well as for each group of farmers and the different natural regions alike. Reasons for examining in this thesis the inputs for maize, tobacco and cotton are straightforward. Maize is not only the most important food crop for Zimbabwe but also the most grown crop; almost all Zimbabwean farmers grow maize. Tobacco and cotton are the two most important cash crops; both are export products and both are highly important for Zimbabwe's economy. These two crops are mainly grown under contract farming. Changes in access to inputs of these three crops will not only affect food security, employment and income for many households but the strength of the economy of Zimbabwe at large. Zimbabwe has different groups of farmers. Two groups will be discussed in detail in this thesis: resettled farmers and communal farmers. These two groups have received various levels of government support. By making a comparison between these two farmer groups it can be examined whether differences in access to inputs between the farmer groups that existed in 2000 do still exist in 2012. The comparison between the natural regions can also show differences in access to inputs. Examining a dependency between being a certain type of farmer and access to inputs, and living in a certain natural regions and access to inputs is important for an understanding of the seeds-issues in general. Knowing the problems in access to inputs can help to understand and clarify the shortfalls of agricultural production and output and is therefore necessary for solving problems in the agricultural sector.
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