Fast Track Land Reform and Agricultural Productivity in Zimbabwe
In the year 2000 the government of Zimbabwe launched the Fast Track Land Reform Programme (FTLRP) as part of its ongoing land reform and resettlement programme, which seeks to address the racially skewed land distribution pattern inherited at independence in 1980. This paper uses data on beneficiaries of the programme and a control group of communal farmers to investigate the programme’s impact on the agricultural productivity of its beneficiaries. The data reveals 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 is found to lie in differences in input usage. In addition we find that FTLRP beneficiaries gain a productivity advantage not only from the fact that they use more fertiliser per hectare, but also from attaining a higher rate of return from its use. Furthermore we find evidence that soil conservation, among other factors, has a significant impact on productivity. Our results also confirm the constraints imposed on agricultural productivity by poverty, suggesting that policies aimed at alleviating poverty would have a positive impact on agricultural productivity.