Political economy of command agriculture in Zimbabwe: a state-led contract farming model

Mazwi, Freedom / Abel Chemura / George T. Mudimu / Walter Chambati
Externe Publikationen (2019)

in: Agrarian South: Journal of Political Economy 8 (1-2), 232-257


After the withdrawal of agrarian capital from financing agriculture in the context of a backlash following the implementation radical land redistribution and tenure reforms since 2000, the fiscally constrained Zimbabwean state assumed an enlarged role in funding production, especially of food grains. Various input subsidy programs were initiated by state and donor agencies to plug the challenges faced by farmers in accessing expensive agricultural inputs, such as seeds and fertilizer on the open markets. Notwithstanding these interventions, the country’s national production has been short of domestic demand for grains, among other key food items, and the recurrent deficits have been increasingly met with a ballooning food import bill. Against this background, in 2016, the Zimbabwe government initiated the Special Maize Import Substitution Programme to enhance domestic production and reduce food imports. Commonly referred to as the Targeted Command Agriculture Programme (TCAP), it is akin to a contract-farming scheme enlisting both the peasantries and the new small-scale capitalist farms, with funding support from domestic capital. Contract farming in Zimbabwe has largely been driven by domestic and international agribusiness and focused on export commodities such as cotton, tobacco and horticulture. In this respect, the TCAP represents a relatively novel, if not innovative, approach by the state to finance food production through contract farming geared to serve the home market. This article examines the effectiveness of this state-driven model of financing agriculture, drawing from research conducted in Zvimba district, in Mashonaland West Province.

Über den Autor

Mudimu, George Tonderai

Agrarpolitische Ökonomie

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