Zimbabwe's Fast Track Land Reform

Prosper B. Matondi


Based on a broader geographical scope than any previous study carried out on the subject, this is a landmark work on a subject of considerable controversy.
The Fast Track Land Reform Programme in Zimbabwe has emerged as a highly contested reform process both nationally and internationally. The image of it has all too often been that of the widespread displacement and subsequent replacement of various people, agricultural-related production systems, facets and processes. The reality, however, is altogether more complex.

Providing new and much-needed empirical research, this in-depth book examines how processes such as land acquisition, allocation, transitional production outcomes, social life, gender and tenure, have influenced and been influenced by the forces driving the programme. It also explores the ways in which the land reform programme has created a new agrarian structure based on small- to medium-scale farmers. In attempting to resolve the problematic issues the reforms have raised, the author argues that it is this new agrarian formation which provides the greatest scope for improving Zimbabwe’s agriculture and development.

Based on a broader geographical scope than any previous study carried out on the subject, this is a landmark work on a subject of considerable controversy.

Author Bio

Prosper B. Matondi is the executive director of the Ruzivo Trust, a not-for-profit organization based in Harare, Zimbabwe. He has more than 18 years of experience researching on land, natural resources management, environmental policy and planning in Zimbabwe, within the southern African region and internationally. He is the co-editor, along with Kjell Havnevik and Atakilte Beyene, of Biofuels, Land Grabbing and Food Security in Africa (Zed 2011).

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • 1. Understanding Fast Track Land Reforms in Zimbabwe
  • 2. Land occupations as the trigger for compulsory land acquisition
  • 3. Interrogating land allocation
  • 4. Juggling land ownership rights in uncertain times
  • 5. Complexities in understanding agricultural production outcomes
  • 6. Access to services and farm-level investments on Fast Track Farms
  • 7. A revolution without change in women's land rights
  • 8. Social organisation and reconstruction of communities on Fast Track Farms
  • Conclusion: from a 'crisis' to a 'prosperous' future?


'A significant empirical and analytical contribution towards a deeper understanding of contested land reforms in Zimbabwe by a committed African scholar.'
Kjell Havnevik, professor at the Nordic Africa Institute and the University of Agder, Norway

'This excellent book adds to a growing body of work on Zimbabwe's controversial land reform. Fundamentally challenging the picture projected by most international commentary, it shows how many have benefited from land redistribution, notwithstanding much diversity in both processes and outcomes. Solid, field-based empirical research, as presented in this book, is crucial as Zimbabwe seeks out a new future with a radically changed agrarian structure.'
Ian Scoones, professorial fellow, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex and co-author of Zimbabwe's Land Reform: Myths and Realities

'We still do not know fully what happened after paramilitary groups seized Zimbabwe's white-owned farms and transferred them to others. Read this book for its analysis of those varied outcomes. Tabulating his findings with admirable clarity, Matondi helps fill a wide gap in the empirical and applied scholarship of rural Zimbabwe.'
David McDermott Hughes, author of Whiteness in Zimbabwe: Race, Landscape, and the Problem of Belonging

'Refreshingly measured in its evidence-based analysis, Matondi's work is scholarly, non-partisan and eschews the entrenched, dogmatic and often vested stances and positions that have been adopted by many of the analysts of the FTLR Programme. This book not only constitutes a valuable addition to the growing literature on the programme, but also is a sound academic addition to the corpus of international land and agrarian reform literature.'
Professor Rudo Gaidzanwa, dean of the Faculty of Social Studies, University of Zimbabwe

'The study addresses an extraordinarily rich array of issues with economy, nuance and insight. In its attention to the role of the civil servants and in its disaggregation of multiple actors from the centre to the grassroots, it confronts the important question of whether the beneficiaries of land were predominantly political cronies. This is an exceptionally useful and intelligent response to an exceptionally chaotic and complex moment of history.'
Diana Jeater, professor of African history, University of the West of England, Bristol

'A hot must-read for an informed discussion on the Fast Track Land Reform in Zimbabwe. The author tackles sensitive issues in a unique yet educative manner, balancing benefits and challenges of the land reform. The book reveals how the process remains the most empowering for Zimbabweans.'
Dr Neddy Matshalaga, chairperson of Ruzivo Trust

'More than a decade on, Prosper Matondi provides a comprehensive, evidence-based analysis through which surfaces the "emerging order" and a future out of the "chaos" of Zimbabwe's controversial Fast Track Land Reform Programme.'
Mandivamba Rukuni, director, of the Mandi Rukuni Seminars

'A welcome addition.'
Rory Pilossof, in Journal of Agrarian Change

'Readers looking for a well-informed, comprehensive, measured and evidence-based analysis of the FTLRP should opt for Zimbabwe’s Fast Track Land Reform.'
Gareth D James, in African Affairs


Publication Date: 8 November 2012
304 pages

Product ISBNs: Paperback: 9781780321486
Hardback: 9781780321493
eBook ePub: 9781780321516
eBook PDF: 9781780321509
eBook Kindle: 9781780321523

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