Agriculture: Future Scenarios for Southern Africa - A Case Study of Zimbabwe's Food Security

By Evangelista Mudzonga, Tendai Chigwada on March 12, 2009

The briefing sketches the country's response to the global food crisis and explores the scenarios for food security and agriculture in the medium to long term.

Key findings:

  • The Zimbabwean government views access to land by the majority as the basis for eradicating poverty and increasing food security. The ‘fast track' land reform exercise has, however, been slow to achieve its stated results.

  • Whilst agriculture is the mainstay of the Zimbabwean economy, production required to ensure food security has been negatively affected by supply side constraints, domestic and external policies and the HIV/AIDS pandemic. However, local production is complemented by food imports and food aid.

  • Due to the country's dire need to provide security for the population, the country does not use food crops like maize, palm oil, soya and sugarcane for the production of fuel on the principle that fuels should not compete for food and the importation of genetically modified seed is prohibited.

Key recommendations:

  • Food aid needs to be managed in a way that responds to emergency food shortages without acting as a disincentive to domestic food production and broader agricultural and commodity sector development.

  • The country needs to strengthen food procurement system and mechanism, including those related to importing food and financing purchases from abroad.

  • Zimbabwe's import tariffs remain high and in view of the food crisis tariff policy could be reviewed and rationalized to ensure availability of imported food staples at affordable prices.

  • The country also needs to integrate small scale farmers into the global food production chain, in order to avoid their marginalization and to strengthen food security and poverty reduction.

Report details

IISD, 2009