Livelihoods and natural resource management dynamics in fast track land resettlements, Kwekwe District, Zimbabwe.
The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate an Agricultural community and its system of Natural Resource Management (NRM) in the post–Fast Track Land Reform Program (FTLRP) era in Zimbabwe. The study contributes to understanding issues facing Agricultural Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) set ups in two resettlement models. The aim was to establish the influence that the FTLRP had on emergent practice and use of the natural resource base. The main task was to explore the patterns of natural resource use within the dynamics of culture, vulnerability and governance issues. The researcher deliberately enriched the case study with interviews, questionnaires, focus group discussions and participatory observations to promote triangulation (confirmation) of results. The field work for the study was carried out in Kwekwe District in the Midlands Province of Zimbabwe. The main part of the district falls in Agro ecological zone III and the smaller part in zone IV. Agro ecological zone III is a semi-intensive farming area prone to sporadic seasonal droughts, long-lasting, mid-season dry spells and the unpredictable onset of the rainy season. Agro ecological zone IV is subject to drought and dry spells in summer, rendering the area unsuitable for arable farming but favourable for semi-extensive beef production. The study specifically targeted FTLRP beneficiaries. The results showed that in terms of impacts on NRM, the exploitation of natural resources for survival has become normal practice. This is a shift from the previous farming practice and NRM of the agrarian space before FTLRP as well as a shift from the indigenous knowledge system of NRM found in traditional communal settlements prior to FTLRP. The background of farmers had notable effects on the current farming practices. Governance of NRM was in conflict with farmers’ needs, the harsh economic climate, dwindling NRM institutions and erosion of the authority of traditional community leaders.
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