University of Florida Homepage

Globalizing Land and Food in Zimbabwe: Implications for Southern Africa

by Carol Thompson


For political and economic crises as severe as Zimbabwe, domestic causes are central, but the conflict in Zimbabwe is not simply internal; it is regional and international and in that sense, it is a post (political) apartheid struggle. Taking an international perspective, this article delineates the context and the constraints on any government, labor or farm leaders in Zimbabwe, as they face enormous problems for land and economic reforms to provide food security. The first section gives the historical context of the current land transfers, analyzing that reliance on the market has not been the pattern of land reform in developing countries until the 1980s. Further, the study discusses how this market approach to land allocation and food production in Zimbabwe has been intensified by neoliberal policies, including both structural adjustment programs and recent international trade instruments. The conclusion analyzes alternative policies for food security which exist in the region, yet cautions that those policies conflict with dominant international agendas.

Full Text PDF

Carol B. Thompson is a Professor of Political Economy at Northern Arizona University, and has written on Southern African food security issues since 1980. With three books and numerous articles on SADC (Southern African Development Community), she has been a consultant to UNICEF, SADC, the Governments of Zambia and Zimbabwe, and numerous international development agencies on agriculture and trade issues.